The aftermath of an England World Cup exit always brings forth multiple theories on how the state of the national game can be improved.
Out of the group
While there may be some truth in the claim that we consistently over-rate our own produce, there can be little doubt that the calibre of players in this World Cup squad should have been capable of getting out of the group.
The England team may lack a stand-out player of the quality of Luis Suarez but its overall capability should have been great enough to produce results against Italy, Uruguay and surprise package Costa Rica.
Despite this being the worst England performance at a World Cup since 1958, the displays were much promising than in 2010. There remains much room for improvement but England played with a verve and intensity that has so often been lacking in recent lifeless performances. Particularly in the game against Italy, England carried a real attacking threat and, had they been more clinical, could have scored several.
What deserted England though was the defensive solidity they possessed in their more dour days. The goal they conceded against Italy from a set piece play and against Uruguay from a simple upfield punt were not befitting of a international quality defence. This defensive frailty may not have been completely cured by reaching out to John Terry but it would have gone some way to correcting it.
This is rejected by the theorists who talk of English football having to move forward and look to the future. Yet England cannot resign itself to the status of a team who uses international tournaments to simply blood new players.
Raheem Sterling, for instance, earned his place in the starting eleven rather than simply by virtue of being young. England should be picking its best eleven and it is absurd then that its best centre half was not involved in the tournament.
Reaching out to Terry
Not only was Terry missed for his playing ability but England desperately lacked the leadership and organisation that he brings. One cannot lazily speculate the difference he would have made but I find it hard to believe England would have shipped the amateurish goals they did had he been included.
England played an encouraging brand of football at this World Cup and can count themselves somewhat unfortunate to have been defeated in their first two games. This element of fortune could though have been taken out had the FA and Roy Hodgson made the effort to reach out to Terry. He would have provided the defensive nous that would have allowed England's attacking game to prosper without making them look so open at the back.
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