FanCast columnist Johnny Moon is convinced that England's struggles have been self inflicted by Steve McClaren who follows a long list of manager's who constantly pick players on reputation and not form.
The great late George Best was once found in a hotel room with a half naked supermodel, champagne and bank notes scattered all over the room. The famous words of a hotel butler "Where did it all go wrong". A classic anecdote of course but has ever a phrase been so apt in describing England's Euro Qualifying campaign.
Should the unthinkable occur this week and England find themselves crashing out then the no doubt post mortem will point the finger at Steve McClaren who like Eriksson before him have failed to get the best from the most talented group of players any manager would wish at their disposal.
So much rubbish has been written this week about what has caused this latest International debacle. Many suggest that we as fans have far to greater expectations for the national side, some have said that we underestimated the opposition, (Macedonia at home, I'm thinking 4-0 win) while there are those like me who just deplores managers who continually pick players on reputation and as a result we continually suffer as a nation.
Sir Alf Ramsey once described his class of 66 as a well oiled unit who were not necessarily the best players individually but together they worked in unison and as a result they achieved success…could you imagine Steve McClaren with England about to enter a World Cup Final and he has the choice to pick the best striker that England has ever produced in Greaves or go with the limited attributes of Geoff Hurst who had done a job in the previous games? You know McClaren would have gone for Greaves; he isn't a brave manager and that is the reason he would never succeed.
I appreciate that managers like fans have their favourites and why this blind loyalty sometimes clouds your judgement, as a manager you live or die by them. Martin Jol undoubtedly got fired because he had faith in Paul Robinson, Jermain Jenas, Didier Zokora and Robbie Keane and why the latter gave his all the other three simply let the manager down on a regular basis and as such, poor results meant he was ousted. McClaren will pay for similar mistakes and quite rightly be sacked on the back of it.
Frank Lampard is the latest player to feel the wrath of the English faithful and why many people feel it harsh considering his goalscoring record, the fact is his presence has unbalanced the whole side under McClaren and don't England fans just know it.
England didn't lose the qualifying campaign due to last months result in Russia, but the start of the campaign where he had to incorporate Lampard in a system alongside Gerrard; (the most dynamic centre midfielder this country has produced since Gazza) was forced to play a holding role in midfield. Games at this level are won in midfield; any coincidence that England had looked more assured with Barry and Gerrard in the centre in recent games?
McClaren also had issues upfront throughout the campaign where he had to play either Owen or a Rooney in favour of the inform Andrew Johnson, Jermain Defoe and the overlooking of Peter Crouch; our most prolific striker in recent international's. It is crazy decisions like these; players simply picked on reputation that has cost the nation. Alan Shearer went 15odd games without scoring for England while the inform Robbie Fowler was scoring goals for fun at Liverpool and was always overlooked; it is clearly a plague that is handed down with the job and one that has cost our nation greatly.
There are so many other examples of inconsistencies within McClaren's reign and this is what ultimately will cost him his job. When will we find a national manager who will show the same sort of balls that Sir Alf had to make all those years ago? Players should be picked on form and not on reputation and that is why Lampard is continually singled out by the fans. He is a very good club player in the system that Chelsea play but International; do me a favour!