England need a revolution to turn Rooney and Lampard’s scowls into smiles

It's time to rip up the FA handbook and start again.

Harsh, but true.

What did Brian Clough, Tony Currie, Frank Worthington, Glenn Hoddle, Matt Le Tissier and Paul Gascoigne all have in common?

The pure talent to do the job on or off the pitch. But they were so mistrusted that they either didn’t get the chance - in Clough’s case - or were woefully under-used in the others.

This has been the English way for too long and now is the time for change.

We need to breed talent and trust it. Forget the British bulldog attitude for now.

We need cocky, technically gifted players from an early age that have the ability to run with the ball, play with either foot and can make their own decisions rather than have to take orders from a Sergeant Major figure on the touchline.

We need to get rid of the antiquated FA system that allows £6million a year to be allocated to a foreign manager but cannot give the green light to a state-of-the-art training facility in Burton-on-Trent, which could train and teach the next generation of managers, coaches and players.

We need to get rid of the ‘tailored for England’ pap from Umbro, which leads us all to believe that England are a cut above the rest. We aren’t, so less of the tailored kit, the M&S suits and the like.

Just stick them in tracksuits and let’s go to work.

We need to have more people involved in English football who are thinkers, innovators and mavericks who could add passion, experience, new ideas and flair into a stuffy old organisation.

Being involved in the greater good of English football should not be just about middle of the road, middle-aged men making middle of the road decisions.

We need to recruit from the pool of talent we have across the board. Diego Maradona was derided as a clown for having no coaching experience but did you see the way the Argentina players laughed and joked with the manager? How they reacted to him?

We need that, we need inspiration and fun as well as preparation.

England's players look wrecked.

Why does Frank Lampard score 20 goals-plus a season for Chelsea but look anything but that kind of player for England?

Why does Wayne Rooney smile and joke and laugh in United red, but scowl and brood for England?

Why do players seem to love playing for Liverpool, United, Chelsea and Spurs but fear wearing the famous three lions?

I think we need to get our priorities right. I love Aston Villa but give me Villa winning the European Cup, League, League Cup and FA Cup in a season or the World Cup for England, and the famous gold trophy wins by a country mile. Is that the same for Wayne Rooney or Ashley Cole?

The fact that I don’t know the answer shows the days that international football was the pinnacle of a playing career is long gone.

Too much emphasis on the Premier League is going to kill our national team.

If England are ever successful at international level, the boost it would give the nation and our sport would be immeasurable, so the FA needs a revolution to protect the national team.

Do we want a national team that plays with a smile on its face, with talented multi-skilled players, who love playing for England? Or do we fill the shirts with fear, and players who prefer playing for club over country? We all need to decide now.

Fancy winning £3,000 for FREE this month? Play Mirror Football Streak for your chance to win cash prizes! Start predicting now!


Latest columnists