England have crashed out of the World Cup in the first round, and already the same arguments, analyses and recriminations have begun.
Who is to blame? How can things be changed? Why does this always happen? Who has to go?
The long and the short of it is that nothing will ever change. The FA can continue to spend as much money as they want on fancy new training facilities, football commissions and any other such pointless things, but it won't make the slightest bit of difference.
I personally feel as though England played quite well at this World Cup. They were unlucky to lose to Italy and Uruguay, and could so easily be sitting comfortably atop of Group D, planning for the Last 16.
I don't believe that Roy Hodgson got anything drastically wrong; he just didn't have the rub of the green in terms of players to choose from and what actually happened in Brazil.
I've heard people calling for Hodgson to be replaced, but there are no real alternatives and Hodgson has done a good job with the limited tools at his disposal.
Sure, he may have made an error in not taking Ashley Cole to Brazil, but what would the point of that have been? Leighton Baines has been the form left-back in England this past year, and has rightly supplanted Cole as England's first choice left-back
He would probably have made a far better alternative to Shaw in the event of an injury befalling Baines, but all in all, it is hard to justify the inclusion of Cole based purely on the fact that he has "been there, done it all before". Yes, he has been there before, but was part of the so called "Golden Generation" that constantly failed so miserably.
Other people have called for John Terry to be included. Indeed, Terry probably remains the finest centre-back in England, but he is a divisive individual to say the least, and I can well imagine that Hodgson will not have wanted such a personality in Brazil in order to maintain a happy camp.
The problem with English football is not merely a footballing issue. The players coming through are decent enough, but there are not enough of them, and their mentality is not suited to being champion footballers on the international stage.
Being a professional football in England is still mainly about the status, the money, the fame and all the other trappings that come with it. Until that mind-set changes, then it doesn't matter what the FA does.
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