The New Golden Generation?

Tottenham and Liverpool, two teams who notoriously let their fans down make up most of the team, yet England are playing pretty well. Not sure about Lallana but this Dele Alli kid is quite good. We look surprisingly organised. Very composed on the ball and closing down combatively. Oh Germany have scored. Ok. They’ve scored again. That’s a shame. Kane’s done nothing all game, bring back Rooney. Wow that’s a very relevant Cruyff turn and great goal from Kane. Rooney shouldn’t even be in the squad in the summer. Jamie Vardy’s party has taken a road trip to Berlin it seems because that was a goal only a man experiencing the season he is could have scored. Hope Germany don’t score again, but they probably will…

Saturday evening, 26th March at approximately 9.31pm Eric Dier leaps above a static André Schürrle to complete the unlikely victory against the old enemy.

In recent years it’s been the ‘vogue’ tact to show explicit lack of enthusiasm for England’s chances when approaching a major tournament. The hysteria around England winning has popularly been criticised for aggravating the inevitable crushing disappointment every four years.

This approach was born thanks to the circus surrounding the ‘golden generation’ for the ten years following the turn of the millennium.

Despite some individual excellence and a few standout matches, the inconsistency of the team will always be synonymous with failure. Just like every England team since 1966, the ‘golden generation’ flopped. However, maybe due to the presence and pressure of the media this time, it felt like not only failed potential, but we hadn’t won something that we ‘legitimately’ felt we should have.

In 2002 we didn’t have the best side (now BBC pundits Trevor Sinclair and Danny Mills were in the starting line-up for example) but surprised everyone by being strong defensively, technically efficient in midfield and had a well-rehearsed Scouse partnership up front of Owen and Heskey. John Motson even told us to ‘hold the cups and glasses back home’ as Beckham scored to beat tournament favourites Argentina. Only for the pony-tailed Seaman to suffer vertigo at his lofty 6ft 4inches, fall over, let Ronaldinho’s tamely struck free kick nestle in the top corner and knock us out in quarterfinals.

Then there was 2004. Not even a dramatic loss to France in the opening game could dampen the England media brigade encouraging us to believe we could win it with new kid on the block Wayne Rooney up front, Beckham back to his best and Lampard starting to impose himself. We made it to the quarterfinals. We were knocked out on penalties by Portugal.

2006 rolled around and this was England’s year. The ‘golden generation’ had matured and were ready to win the World Cup. It all was falling into place. There was the accustomed row over the players’ wives and girlfriends, there was the team’s star’s (Rooney) metatarsal injury, and there was even Peter Crouch’s dance. England were going to win the World cup. We made it to the quarterfinals. We were knocked out on penalties by Portugal.

In 2008 England were even denied the opportunity to make it to the quarterfinals to be knocked out on penalties by Portugal, thanks to not qualifying and that infamous rainy night for McClaren.

At least in 2010 the team made it to the finals. However it’s been since the embarrassment in South Africa and England’s last competitive match versus Germany in Bloemfontein that it’s been suggested for England’s fans to not be overtly enthusiastic about our national side. This of course was the year of that Rob Green howler, Rooney’s camera obscenities and the Lampard goal that never was in the aforementioned match in Bloemfontein.

The moment Eric Dier nailed that header in the bottom corner of Manuel Neuer’s goal the past 15 years of disappointment was immediately erased. The fans who have been told to mute their excitement for saving their feelings down the line, loosened their muzzle’s – England are the greatest team in the world. Social Media went berserk. Baring in mind this game was being played over the Easter weekend, one tweet even read:

For the following few days, England was talked about again as world-beaters. Was this the new golden generation? Could we forget about the erstwhile ‘heroes’? Is captain Wayne Rooney surplus to requirements? Will Jamie Vardy’s party ever end?

A full of beans England then played a Netherlands team on Tuesday evening, who just like England has seen a failed potential golden generation come and go.

Hodgson made wholesale changes to the team, offering most of the squad an opportunity to impress him. A lacklustre England lost 1-2 at home.

This loss has hopefully provided us with a reality check. England has a young exciting team, but it is far from the finished article and the words ‘new golden generation’ should be whispered not retweeted and shared.

This defeat was the last opportunity for Hodgson to see his players in an England shirt before naming his squad for this summer’s tournament. Club form and individual fitness will play a part for who is selected as well as Roy’s personal perplexing love affairs with certain players – *Adam Lallana*.

“Roy Hodgson at Euro 2012 match against Italy” by Football.ua is licensed under CC BY 3.0

 


 

Who goes to France and who is left at home forced to be bored by Gary Linekar’s dulcet tones?

Book their tickets:

Goalkeepers:

Joe Hart (Manchester City) – GK
Fraser Forster (Southampton) – GK

Defenders:

Nathanial Clyne (Liverpool) – RB
Kyle Walker (Tottenham) – RB
Gary Cahill (Chelsea) – CB
Phil Jagielka (Everton) – CB
Chris Smalling (Manchester United) – CB
John Stones (Everton) – CB
Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) – LB

Midfielders:

Eric Dier (Tottenham) – CM
Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) – CM
James Milner (Liverpool) – CM
Dele Alli (Tottenham) – CAM
Ross Barkley (Everton) – CAM
Adam Lallana (Liverpool) – RM/CAM/LM
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) – LM/RM

Forwards:

Harry Kane (Tottenham) – ST
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) – ST
Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) – ST
Danny Welbeck (Arsenal) – LW/ST

Don’t make plans this summer just yet:

Goalkeepers:

Tom Heaton (Burnley) – GK
Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion) – GK

Defenders:

Phil Jones (Manchester United) – CB
Leighton Baines (Everton) – LB
Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) – LB
Danny Rose (Tottenham) – LB
Luke Shaw (Manchester United) – LB

Midfielders:

Michael Carrick (Manchester United) – CM
Fabian Delph (Manchester City) – CM
Danny Drinkwater (Leicester City) – CM
Ryan Mason (Tottenham) – CM
Mark Noble (West Ham United) – CM
Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United) – CM
Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) – CM
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) – RW/LW
Andros Townsend (Newcastle United) – RW/LW
Theo Walcott (Arsenal) – RW

Forwards:

Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) – ST

My squad would be*:

Joe Hart (Manchester City) – GK
Fraser Forster (Southampton) – GK
Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion) – GK

Nathanial Clyne (Liverpool) – RB
Kyle Walker (Tottenham) – RB
Gary Cahill (Chelsea) – CB
Phil Jagielka (Everton) – CB
Chris Smalling (Manchester United) – CB
John Stones (Everton) – CB
Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) – LB
Danny Rose (Tottenham) – LB

Eric Dier (Tottenham) – CM
Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) – CM
Dele Alli (Tottenham) – CAM
Ross Barkley (Everton) – CAM
Adam Lallana (Liverpool) – RM/CAM/LM
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) – RW/LW
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) – LM/RM

Harry Kane (Tottenham) – ST
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) – ST
Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) – ST
Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) – ST
Danny Welbeck (Arsenal) – LW/ST

*current injury reports taken into consideration

Comment below with your squad for the finals.

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