Category: England

Ross Barkley's impressive start to the season has earned him a surprisingly rapid elevation to the senior England squad (Image | Liverpool Echo)

Ross Barkley’s impressive start to the season has earned him a surprisingly rapid elevation to the senior England squad (Image | Liverpool Echo)

After my commanding performance in central midfield during game 3 of our works tournament last month (my first two efforts were poor), I was contacted by a man named Roy who asked if I wanted to appear in the Scotland friendly. He didn’t use the word “desperate”, but the tone of his voice was telling. Unfortunately, I was unavailable due to a family dinner.

The above may not be entirely true, but if England’s selection policy continues to develop along its current trajectory, I won’t be letting go of my phone any time soon.

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Ben Watson's 90th minute header confirmed the biggest headline in football this week (Image | The Sun)

Ben Watson’s 90th minute header confirmed the biggest headline in football this week (Image | The Sun)

Last week may have seen the first significant news of the football off-season, but it certainly wasn’t the last. Following the retirement of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, and David Moyes’ arrival at Old Trafford as his successor, there has been plenty more big news in the past seven days.

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The tragedy of legendary England footballer Paul Gascoigne is one that has unfolded over many years and continues to be vividly played out on the front of tabloid newspapers and on 24-hour television news channels.

Troubled | Paul Gascoigne has once again been admitted to rehab for his alcohol problems. (Image | The Mirror)

Troubled | Paul Gascoigne has once again been admitted to rehab for his alcohol problems. (Image | The Mirror)

Mercurial as a player, “Gazza” became a sporting icon as well as a supremely talented player capable of destroying opposition defences, but since his career ended, the 45-year-old has been slowly destroying himself.

Alcohol problems and mental illnesses have blighted Gascoigne during the last decade, and only this week his agent, Terry Baker, told BBC Radio 5 live that the ailing former star was “dying in front of us” and in need of urgent help.

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Abused | England Under-21s star Danny Rose hit out after the final whistle at 90 minutes of racist chanting by Serbian fans. (Image | The Guardian)

The recent examples of racist abuse at the highest levels of domestic and European football have sent shockwaves through the sport. High-profile incidents have cast doubt on the instruments of justice and guardians of the game.

Not only this, but the reappearance of racism on what is now a world stage is beginning to undermine all the progress made towards eliminating such egregious abuse – once endemic – from modern football.

All around us politicians, footballers, supporters, victims and others are calling for action to be taken. The question is, who should be taking this action, and what can actually be done to truly kick racism out of football?

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Roy Hodgson takes his frustration out on a football on possibly the world’s wettest patch of grass last night (Image | Action Images)

Last night in international football: one game out of a scheduled two for England’s senior and under-21 sides, a Polish farce and a Serbian tragedy.

The senior England team will belatedly kick off last night’s World Cup qualifier against Poland in Warsaw this afternoon, after stunning scenes in the new National Stadium last night, while if Stuart Pearce and his squad have their voices heard, it may be some time before an international kicks off in Serbia again.

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The England team’s comfortable dispatching of San Marino on Friday night did little for the argument that minnows deserve to be in the main stage of European qualifying (Image |

Upon reading the title of this post, you may think that I’m going to talk about a certain Michel Platini’s comments regarding his desire to see the 2022 World Cup played in winter.

Platini, though, isn’t my target. I am going to discuss the fact that international football is becoming increasingly meaningless.

My dad reminds me that whenever an England squad is announced that not so long ago, a player had to be among the select group of best players in England’s top flight to be called up to the national team. And although he does not necessarily disagree with giving young players a chance to show their worth in friendlies, he, like me, believes that international football needs a major reshuffle.

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Surprise | John Terry‘s decision to retire was an unexpected move late last night. (Image | Telegraph)

Chelsea captain John Terry brought his England career to an end yesterday evening by retiring from international football at the age of 31.

The defender claims that his decision was made because of the Football Association (FA) trial into his alleged racial abuse of Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand.

Terry feels the FA has made his position as a member of the national team “untenable”, which paraphrased seems to suggest that Terry believes himself to be the victim of a malicious smear campaign, designed to make it as difficult as possible for him to return to his duties for England.

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Staying on the island | English footballers rarely take up the opportunity to play abroad, and it is an extremely infrequent occurrence in modern football in this country. (Image | Football)

Two decades since the formation of the Premier League and the football landscape in this country has changed dramatically. The Taylor Report brought in all-seater stadia; the advent of television money has resulted in TV rights increasing from £50m in 1992 to £3bn today; the availability of talented Englishmen has dropped precipitously as the league has filled with foreign-born footballers, and home-grown players no longer ply their trade abroad. Why?

There are several ways of approaching this, but the most obvious is money. Players in England benefit from a laissez faire wage structure – indeed structure is arguably too generous a term. Clubs pay players what they want, and the more desirable an individual is, the greater the outlay will be from the side that wishes to retain or purchase them. Wages of £100,000-plus per week are commonplace, creating a safety net for English footballers who are of sufficient ability to be remunerated so generously.

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A long road | As the Olympic torch has been transported up and down the country, Olympic fever has slowly begun to take hold, despite the negative press surrounding the Games. (Image | The Sun)

It really has been a vintage summer of sport. The superb entertainment offered by the 2012 European Championships, England notwithstanding, Andy Murray reaching the Wimbledon final and Bradley Wiggins‘ dominance of the Tour de France will live long in the memory of sports fans everywhere.

Not only this, but arguably the most prestigious, and potentially exhilarating sporting event of the summer, is yet to even begin. It is the London 2012 Olympic Games to which that reference pertains, which unofficially begin tonight (with Women’s Football group games) and have already been hitting the headlines, albeit for all the wrong reasons.

Away from transport dilemmas, the issue of packing an extra 10 million visitors into London and the G4S debacle, the Olympic Games celebrate the greatest sporting talents of athletes from across the world. If you claim to be a sports fan, yet this somehow fails to excite you, may I suggest a quick examination of your pulse.

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Unstoppable | Spain’s performance in the Euro 2012 final, after an occasionally underwhelming campaign, has left many asking if they are the best team in the history of football. (Image | Getty)

After three weeks of 10-second countdowns, Pirlo-praising and Spanish superiority, the UEFA European Championships are over. A thoroughly enthralling group stage was followed by a below-average knockout stage that culminated with a sizzling Spanish performance in Kiev to complete an unprecedented trio of consecutive tournaments wins for the newly-crowned ‘greatest national team of all time’. In this article, I will be looking at how everyone performed.

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