Few years after the golden generation of John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes retired and left behind unfulfilled collective potentials at the international, Gareth Southgate’s current side appear not to be faring better either.
On the back of the disappointing Euro 2012 overseen by Roy Hogdson, Sam Allardyce’s scandal-terminated run and Southgate’s takeover, the Three Lions appear to be different from the so called golden generation in terms of personnel and at the same time mirror challenges that befell such era.
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney remains the last piece of leftover from star studded era. An era that saw a group of talented English professionals thrive seamlessly at club level yet struggled to gel together once converged for a major tournament.
Since taking over mid last year the 46-year old has managed to forge a new identity on the Three Lions and although they have managed to pick up decent results in their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, the perennial inability to measure up to the A-grade teams of Europe and the rest of the world persists.
Even France, who constantly face the challenge of iterating the talents spread throughout the Ligue 1 and the rest of Europe’s top leagues, still found a way to beat the English in the recently organized friendly in memory of the recent London attacks.
With Phil Jones, John Stones and Gary Cahill in defence while Ryan Bertrand, Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker serving as wings back, the overall defence appears decent. With Dele Alli and Harry Kane with Rashford upfront, Gareth’s side has what it takes to bury chances.With last match’s pairing of Eric Dier and Oxlade Chamberlain, the midfield seems to be the ugly part of the puzzle.
Unless the coach figures how to fix that middle, England riskskeeping the age long tradition of disappointing their nation when it matters most.