Welcome to the World of Beckham blog, we aim to keep you up to date with developments in the career of David Beckham a footballer from the UK who has played for some of the top teams in the world.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Beckham for England...

Speculation is now rife as to whether Capello will be required to relinquish his position as England manager. Some sources are even saying that it is not impossible that Beckham will be asked to be part of a new regime - my own feeling is that this is highly unlikely as he will still want to be involved on the pitch for the upcoming European qualifiers. He also has a committment to LA Galaxy and longer term plans with the MLS to consider.

I am also not of the opinion that we should just throw Cappello out on the basis of the World Cup performance unless we have identified that it is Cappello's regime that was at fault as opposed to the molly-coddled players not being 'happy' simply because they have been asked to toe the line. I honestly feel that a bunch of players more committed to the cause and more prepared to make sacrifices for the nation would have fared a lot better under Capello - I would be willing to bet that had the German side been managed by Capello, they would have still beaten us. If that is the case, we must conclude that maybe the players cannot take direction or simply lack the leadership that encourages them to buckle down and perform for the manager.

Maybe it is a mistake to allow the squad to donate their fees to charity - we cannot slate them for taking the money, they are allowed to feel that they are performing our of some sense of charity and therefore are no longer obliged to put heart and soul into the game. It's an admirable gesture, but maybe short-sighted - I would prefer a player to take the money and feel obliged to perform accordingly. My feeling is that some of these players think it's all about them (as they are taught by the adulation we heap on them), we need some players who know that it's all about the team. Even Rooney who normally comes across as a kid who loves the game, is known to be petulant particularly about being substituted - whereas the feeling of privelege for being in the team in the first place should be the over-riding sentiment of any player.

I have a feeling that Capello will go, and I for one will be sad to see it, especially as he had just signed up for a deal that we see him well-rewarded for being sacked. It's not just that issue that rankles though, it's the issue that I think Cappello's no-nonsense regime was the right course, it's just that within this set of players resides the attitude that 'if I don't like it, I don't have to listen' - which has been fostered by the status of the Premiership in world football, their superstar status and superstar wages....

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Germany 4 England 1

The thing we feared all along as happened, England were found wanting despite the excuse of an appalling decision over a disallowed Frank Lampard goal. When faced with a quality side, although able to show some degree of class and control, over the full ninety minutes this team just didn't have what it takes to compete at this level.
Germany started well, but were able to exploit England's defensive weaknesses (which to be fair any class side should), and these were weaknesses that have been present right through the qualifying campaign.
One goal down after 20 minutes, and two after half an hour England seemed to be on the ropes. Matthew Upson (arguably culpable in the first goal) gave England hope with a headed goal from a corner just five minutes later. Almost immediately after that Lampard had scored lofting the ball over the keeper, striking the underside of the cross bar and crossing the line before bouncing back. Everyone in the stadium saw it, it seems.. other than the referee and his assistants. We have all seen those 'did it - didn't it?' scenarios when there is a debate about whether the ALL of the ball was over ALL of the line - in this case there was no need for debate, the ball was several feet over the line yet incredibly, the ref waved play on... Germany did and almost had the ball in the other net...
Half time came and went, the same side (the one that started against Slovenia) resumed with some small hope. Later in the half a few changes were made to try and force another goal although Heskey coming on for Defoe, and Sean Wright Phillips for Glen Johnston (?) still make you wonder about how Capellos mind works. Needless to say, England's cautious moves forward left them very much wanting at the back - a fact that Germany took full advantage of, twice steaming down their left flank leaving defenders in their wake and scoring another two times with well-taken and scantly-defended goals.
A re-think is clearly needed, England need to go back to the drawing board and learn how to defend, only a solid defence will stand you in good stead at this level, the strikers cannot always be relied on, you need something to fall back on - something that England at this moment just do not have...

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Bend it like.... Milner

James Milner got his second chance yesterday after being pulled in the first England game against USA when he clearly wasn't up to the task - to the extent where he earned himself a yellow card trying to defend the left hand flank.
Notably, he was put on against Slovenia to replace the ineffective Aaron Lennon on the right wing, and his performance was a crucial part of the turn-around in England's performance. England are used to getting 'Beckham-style' deliveries from that position, but in the absence of the master crosser, all that has been on offer are speedy dribblers who can skip past a couple of defenders but on the whole fail to deliver anything worthwhile. I like Lennon on the right, on top-form he can be virtually unplayable, but he has to be able to play in a way that England can benefit.
For my money, England with wingers who can cross the ball look ten times more likely to score than England with speed and maneuverability on the wings. I don't know whether Milner has been taken under Beckhams' wing for any special training, but the fact that 'normal' service has been resumed is absolutely undeniable.
Defoe has proved his value as a hit-man, and he nearly scored twice from similar Milner crosses - with Milner providing the service, you have more confidence that Crouch will be able get that last minute goal if the ocassion calls for it.

My interpretation of the rules on yellow cards in the 2010 World Cup is that Glen Johnson can not play in the next game - two yellows equals a one-match suspension, but after the quarter-finals, all bookings are scratched from a players record meaning that ONLY a dismissal in the semi-final would prevent the player from being picked for the World Cup final.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Slovenia 0 England 1

After a nail-biting game, it finishes 1 - 0 to England a slender lead that takes England into the next round as group runners-up, with USA going through in first place as they grab a late winner against Algeria... it was looking like England could go out at this stage based on the first two performances, this however was a different England - dare I say, a NEW England?

The slender lead belies the fact that England peppered the Solvenian goal with chances, Defoe volleyed from close range after a cracking cross from Milner for the only goal of the match on 22 mins, but chances came and went for Gerrard, Rooney, Defoe and Lampard. Two chances could so easily have been converted, a parry from the 'keeper went back to Defoe who put it on a plate for Gerrard - again the keeper got a paw to it and just managed to gather the ball as it crept goalwards. Later Rooney was put through one-on-one and again the keeper managed to get enough on the ball to force it onto the post. If it weren't for the keeper (who also saved a goal-bound header from Terry) it could have been a scoreline reminiscent of Englands qualifying campaign.

Not that Slovenia rolled over, they had their break late on in the game, three chances in the box in quick succession had every England fan gasping for breath. First Terry blocked a shot, Johnson swept the rebound shot away (as Terry desperately dived head-first to get to it) and the third shot narrowly missed the goal - hearts in mouth time, but in the back of your mind you knew that this was their one chance - we always give them one chance...

This game started with Defoe and Milner who combined for the goal, Heskey replaced Defoe late on, and Rooney picked up a knock and was replaced by Cole in the dying stages of the match. Both Rooney and Cole earned themselves rapturous applause at the change-over. Upson took his place alongside Terry and the usual suspects. Johnson picked up a booking which sees him out of the next game - I am guessing Carragher will be in for him in his favoured right-back role.

Well, we knew they had it in them, they didn't have to leave it so late, but as they say 'better late than never...'

England expects..

The time draws near, the final chance to show the world that the England football team are a force to be reckoned with - so far they have been unrecognisable as the same team that waltzed through the qualifiers scoring goals (and letting a few in) for fun...
Whatever happens this afternoon, we can take solace in the fact that we have more points than France, and have not yet been beaten...

I still have hope that we will pull it out of the bag today, and if so, I am sure all will be forgiven and we can look forward to the next stage. We know that the ability to go further is there, we just need a break, a goal and the confidence should come flooding back. My feeling is that England need to go out and think about playing football more than they need to think about beating the opposition - the longer a game goes on, the harder it seems to beat a determined opposition - however if they just go out and play, they should win easily...

Friday, 18 June 2010

England 0 Algeria 0

With only one win (Slovenia) in their group to date, England had a prime opportunity to stamp their authoity on the World Cup, an opportunity that was squandered with what can only be described as an uninspired and uninspiring performance. From the dug-out, the manager was perplexed as was Beckham in his smartly pressed suit.

Even Rooney seemed not to care whether England put in a performance, content to shoot from range, and seemingly content to lose the ball after a bad touch without much hope of getting it back again... James stood up well in goal, there was a punch that went a little awry, but in circumstances where he was unprotected by his defenders, I think that is forgivable. There was a poignant moment towards the end of the first half when a local bird, a little like a scruffy brown pigeon, decided to perch on the Algerian goal presumably safe in the knowledge that it would not be troubled by balls flying into the net from the England team. The pigeon was right, it is difficlt to find words or excuses for such a seemingy lacklustre performance - all I can say is... one more chance, that's all otherwise it is USA and Slovenia going through to the next round...

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Beckham News

Well unless you have been living under a rock for the last few months, you will know that David Beckham got injured in March this year, and the World Cup is now well and truly under way without Beckham as a player.
In case you have been under a rock or living without Sky News, the BBC and CNN... I will do my best to bring you up to date. Beckham has joined Fabio Capello's back-room staff in South Africa and has been giving individual coaching, advice and encouragement to the team. He was there for the Wembley warm up against Mexico, but did not travel to the Austrian pre-tournamant training camp, instead opting to visit British Troops in Afghanistan.
He arrived in South Africa on the same day as the England team to resume his role as mentor and liaison for the England team. Of course, Capello is well aware of what Beckham has to offer having managed him when they were both at Madrid. Beckham does not have any official coaching 'badges' so he cannot be part of the technical coaching staff as such, nevertheless the presence of the ex-captain is no doubt appreciated by the players.
England have faltered against the USA, and face Algeria in a few days time - there can be no more slip-ups, emphatic wins in the next two games are vital to qualify, and hopefully win the group thus avoiding Germany in the next round. I don't mind admitting that I don't think England are ready to meet the German team just yet, especially after their emphatic win against Australia...
Naturally, this blog is struggling for actual 'Beckham' news at the moment, so we will follow the progress of England through the World Cup, and then concentrate on Beckham's rehabilitation back in LA, through to the European qualifiers in which Beckham now hopes to have a pivotal role as a player once more - and to be honest, on current showing, he is sorely missed.

Monday, 14 June 2010

England have an uphill task ahead..

There are two certainties that we take with us through the week until it is time to face Algeria on Friday:
  1. England are capable of doing better
  2. No game is a forgone conclusion
England and Capello face some tricky barriers this week - none so pronounced as what to do about Rob Green... No England keepeer of the modern era has proved themselves immune to identical errors, yet somehow confidence has to be restored in the man and in the team. It is almost certain that David James will have to start the next match even though he is no stanger to seemingly mindless errors himself.
James will inspire confidence in the defence, Rob Green despite the fact that such an errror is unlikley to recurr, will need to gather his thoughts and move on - but this is not the time to play mind-games, his rehabilitation is not Capello's concern whilst he has 'keepers that are fit and ready to step into the breach.
It is time to reflect and look at the consequences of a draw with the US - there is now a very real chance that England may qualify for the next round in second place, which will most likely mean a meeting with Germany - whilst we might normally relish a clash with the Germans, right now our fragile defence can hardly be considered ready to meet the challenge. All we can do now is go at the next two games and get as many goals as we can to ensure that we meet the runners up from Group D rather than the winners.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

England 1 USA 1

Captain Gerrard got England off to a great start before 4 minutes were on the clock, combining with Rooney and Heskey to put England 1 up - exactly the sort of start we were looking for...
However, the first half didn't really take off and in the closing minutes, it was Clint Dempsey who managed a shot which Rob Green fumbled into the net bringing the scores level at 1-1. Milner was taken off after 30minutes after getting a yellow card, Capello maybe nervous that the yellow may turn red at some point... he was replaced (rather surprisingly) with Sean Wright Phillips. Ledley King came off at half time, replaced by Carragher, but it was only in the last 10 minutes that Cappello decided to bring in the much-missed Peter Crouch - I say much-missed because every cross that came into the box was met by a US defender, until Crouch arrived... However, even the arrival of Crouch did not bring any further goals. Rob Green pulled off a great save, Rooney tried a couple of long-range shots, and in the second half (as in so many other England games) they began to dominate. Sean Wright Phillips squandered a chance, as did Heskey one-on-one with the keeper, but despite the disappointing result, I think there is a lot more to come from England, and they showed flashes of it from time to time.
How Rob Green will be affected by his error will show in time, once again the curse of the fumble strikes England..

Monday, 7 June 2010

Platinum Stars 0 England 3

England 1 - 0 up through Defoe after 3 minutes, Platinum Starts won a (fairly questionable) penalty which they missed... replays show little reason for awarding a penalty.
10 changes in the second half...
Rooney got booked after about 15 mins - almost inevitable, he doesn't do 'friendly'...
Joe Cole scores a second goal for England, Rooney is over-generous in the box, passing to Heskey who wanted too much time when he could have blasted it in himself...
Never mind, Rooney took a nice half-volley on the canter and bagged himself a goal anyway... 3 -0 to England.
Ashley Cole wastes a chance to make it four in the closing seconds, cutting inside and dragging it wide with his less-favoured right foot.
In conclusion, it was probably a useful exercise, but everyone is relieved not to see any dramatic injuries - the start showed a lot of the pace that Capello has been promising us, but we are still left wondering what the line-up will be on Saturday. Crouch, Defoe and Gerrard combined in the first half with back-up from Joe Cole Wright-Phillips and Lampard- Rooney, Joe Cole and Heskey with Lennon and Milner in support were on show in the second half. I think Joe Cole was the only player to remain on the pitch throughout the match - I guess Capello feels he needs the game time.

Friday, 4 June 2010

England in training

The first training session in South Africa for the England squad this morning - Gareth Barry puts in an appearance, but Rio Ferdinand is taken to hospital for a scan after a clash towards the end of training. Beckham trains with the team although it has not been made clear exactly what role he is taking.
Meanwhile there are rumors of serious injury to Drogba after Ivory Coast play Japan...

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

England Squad announced

This is the official squad....

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), David James (Portsmouth), Robert Green (West Ham).

Defenders: Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Ledley King (Tottenham), John Terry (Chelsea), Matthew Upson (West Ham), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa).

Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), James Milner (Aston Villa), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City).

Forwards: Peter Crouch (Tottenham), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

No Walcott is probably the biggest surprise, but even odder is the fact that Adam Johnson also didn't make the cut, I would have thought that one of those two would have made the squad. No real surprise to see that Leighton Baines didn't make it this time, he did not have a great game last week against Mexico, Warnock and Cole will look after the left side of defence adequately I am sure. Barry makes the squad despite recent injury, the full list of those that didn't make it is as follows:
  • Walcott
  • Johnson (Adam)
  • Dawson
  • Baines
  • Bent
  • Huddlestone
  • Parker
The last game to be played before England meet the USA in the real competition will be a freindly against local South African side Platinum All-Stars, I am not sure whether this will be broadcast anywhere - If I find that it is, I may post details here...
Beckham's role is as yet unclear - maybe this will become clear when the players get to South Africa and settle in - We understand that he has been coaching Walcott in crossing techniques, but it seems like the coaching did not pay off.