Let the hideous autopsy begin. Despite mathematically still having a chance of qualification, the odds are seriously stacked against England and no side has ever lost their first two games in a World Cup and still qualified. However in typical fashion, rather than remain positive right to the bitter end, Roy Hodgson and his men are about to be ripped apart to diagnose "where it all went wrong".
Where it went wrong is that we lost two games. Simple as that. The first to a great side that are notoriously difficult to beat and the second to several moments of genius from two of the best players in world football. Yes, there are many things that England could have done differently but, as an England fan who has endured years of disappointment, I am strangely positive about the future as long as the FA accept that this is the end of an era and behave accordingly.
The golden generation of English football has gone, it had gone by Euro 2012 but it is understandable to desperately cling onto a group of players that on paper should have lit up world football. The FA though are the ones who are supposed to be strong enough to make the tough decisions. That is why there are lots of members, so the massive choices don't have to fall on just one man.
They need to accept that if England are ever going to be a force in world football, they need to initiate an intentional and controlled evolution of not only players, but attitude and approach towards the national team. They need a philosophy and they need to stick to it.
The first step was St George's Park, a fantastic facility that could help develop that philosophy for the future. We need to reset and start all over again, rather than continuing to plug gaps in ageing squads with young inexperienced players. We need to accept that it is not working and be bold to change, scrapping the older players and moving forward allowing them all to develop together.
The FA need to look at the example set by the Germans. They made the decision to start over and push their youth team and look where they are now. The likes of Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos, Marco Reus and Mario Gotze were given the baton, to take the responsibility of the national team and faith was put in their ability without a mass of older "insurance" players.
Germany are now back at the summit of world football and in my opinion, especially seeing the demise of the incredible Spanish side, are about to take the mantle of being the best in the world.
England have a wonderful set of young players who, with the right guidance and development, could go on to be the core of the national side for years to come. Already there is a base of a full team and the FA needs to be involved with their development as well as their clubs.
Luke Shaw, Phil Jones and John Stones could potentially be joined by Calum Chambers of Southampton in defence. Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley, Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain already have the skill to be a dynamic midfield and Daniel Sturridge will only get better with more experience. These are skilful players with so much pace that they could be incredibly exciting.
If Jones is given the chance at Manchester United to become the player Sir Alex Ferguson claimed he could be, he could potentially be at the heart of that defence and also captain the side.
Louis van Gaal is renowned for putting faith in young players so lets hope he does with Jones. If he can develop him in the way he has with several Dutch youngsters we could really benefit.
Wilshere has to improve and it was telling that he only played a bit-part role in both of England's games. He seems to have weakened and while his eye for the game has not gone, he looks fragile and he has to become stronger if he wants to dominate midfield.
Barkley has the potential to be one of the best players England has ever had but, we need to learn from how we treated Gazza and Wayne Rooney, in that putting all the pressure on that player leads to disappointment. Germany don't say that Ozil will win the World Cup for them, he is a part of a squad and that is where the philosophy needs to change.
Hodgson should be considered to remain in charge and oversee the change. He has been brave in his team selection at this tournament and I admire the way he handles the media. He clearly has a lot of respect for these youngsters and could help with them becoming established. The FA should also keep Gary Neville, as he is fast becoming a very respected figure in the world of football and shows a very good understanding of the game through his punditry.
Whatever happens it is the end of an era, but lets not waste any time dissecting why when the future could be very bright. The FA should see this as a chance to change and be part of a new generation for English football.
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