England are just not good enough at this moment in time, if you look at the team they’re just not up to it.
If you were ranking today’s top class players they’re French, German, Italian and South American. I couldn’t think of too many English guys who’d get in the top 50, or even the Top 100 in the world – that’s the bottom line.
Take the Champions League, for example. Even though they’ve got a lot of foreign influence, it’s been another shambolic effort by Premier League sides.
Leicester are the only team in the last eight, a club who despite being champions have been relegation-threatened for most of the season– that says it all.
It’s very hard to see any English player getting in this current Germany starting eleven. The two I like best are Ross Barkley and John Stones, but we are pretty good at the back with Mats Hummels and Jérôme Boateng. So it would be tough for Stones to get in there.
In midfield we’ve Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos, it would be mighty difficult for Barkley to dislodge those two. Even Raheem Sterling would be up against Mesut Özil and Marco Reus.
At the moment, I just couldn’t see any of them getting into a German team.
We just produce world class players. England haven’t managed to do that, they’ve got some talented players, but they don’t get any better when they get to 18, 19, 20. Maybe it’s because they get too much money, but that’s how clubs are run.
If you asked me who could step up and captain Germany I could give you five names, however in the England setup I’d struggle to find you one who’s got that personality and the capability as a player.
It’s one thing being a leader, but you’ve got to be a top player as well. The one who’s taken a lot of flak lately is John Stones. He doesn’t shy away from responsibility at Manchester City and if Stones comes through this rough spell, he’s the most obvious choice to succeed Wayne Rooney long term.
As for why England can’t match the performance level they showed in the Berlin win last year on a consistent basis, I honestly believe Germany were only at 70/80 per cent in that game. The players even said it’s hard to get in ‘competitive mode’ for a friendly when they were interviewed afterwards.
England are just miles off the top teams at the moment. They struggled through their Euro 2016 group and then they lost to Iceland – that’s where they are!
If people thought after that Germany win they were not that far off, then sometimes these results can be the worst thing to happen to a teams. In reality, they’re way behind Italy, Spain, Germany – never mind the South American teams.
I like the appointment of Southgate, he’s someone who’s authentic and can bring a certain type of perspective to the job having played for his country in the past.
He’s a very humble man, however it’s hard to say whether England can compete at the big tournaments because they’ve been so poor recently. Gareth needs the backing of the FA and the job security so he can work for the next two or three years, but at the same time it’s a results driven business.
He needs to find leaders, a lot of these England players are led by foreigners in the Premier League and once they come together for the national side they look for help, advice and guidance. They simply don’t get it though and that’s the biggest issue!
England need to get something out the game tonight and make it competitive against Germany to set them up for the Lithuania game. Germany won’t be 100% tuned in and friendlies are very different to competitive matches.
So, it’s an opportunity for England to get a result again. Just don’t read too much into it even if they do.