England showed the gap between Premiership and Championship is closing

Cardiff City Striker Jay BothroydEngland’s performance midweek proved that the Championship isn’t too far behind the Premiership in quality

After England’s disappointing performance against France last night at Wembley, in which the French dictated the game and came out as 2-1 winners, it was evident that the majority of the players representing England were not worthy of an England cap.

Once again our national team fails to live up to expectations but it’s not the fact that we lost which let me and the millions watching down, it’s the lack of effort that was clearly shown yesterday and again the lack of enthusiasm shown by the teams ‘manager’.

Some of the football I witnessed last night was a carbon copy of the football I watch every week at Selhurst Park and I was left asking the question; if Jagielka can play at right back for England then why can’t Nathaniel Clyne?

Whilst watching the game last night, I lost count at the number of times the back four used the Championship tactic of ‘hit and hope’ in order to play the ball up to debutant Carroll, who put in a good performance when he was given little help from the midfield.

I showed great attention to the lack of confidence shown by players such as Gareth Barry and Steven Gerrard, and all they wanted to last night was to play the ball backwards, rely on the wingers to get forward and then defend for the team again.

This is the type of Football that I am used to when watching the Championship, players who haven’t got the technical ability to pick out a pass or have the confidence to take on a player so play ‘one dimensionally’ and always look to hoof the ball forward to the target man.

Considering some of these internationals play their football for the country’s best teams, it was disappointing to see such a lack of general football skills and the confidence to take on a player, and instead resulting to kicking the ball up field.

With England clearly missing the experience of John Terry, Ashley Cole and Wayne Rooney, the likes of Jagielka and Lescott failed to show why they deserved to represent their country and although not much good would have come out of yesterday’s match, surely it was a wakeup call for Championship footballers that they are not too far behind the Premiership in quality.

This is further evident with the recent call up of Cardiff City striker Jay Bothroyd, who was chosen ahead of the experienced Kevin Davis for his first England cap and the first player to represent the Championship since David Nugent made his England bow in 2007.

After Jay Bothroyd’s excellent start to the season for Cardiff, manager Capello has shown the players that ply their trade in England’s second tier that if they put effort in, there is always an opportunity to represent their country.

So is this a positive era for the Championship or negative for the Premiership?

Views will differentiate depending on people’s understanding of the Championship and the competiveness of the league.

Being a Crystal Palace fan and a weekly follower of the Championship, my opinion is that the league is hugely overlooked by many pundits and fans who like the big bucks and the big names of the Premiership instead of the determination and physical prowess of the Championship.

I have nothing against the Premiership and being a hypocrite isn’t in my agenda, as I enjoy nothing more than watching Match of The Day on a Saturday night, but surely last night’s performance was a wakeup call for England fans that we are a mile away from the finished product.

This article is neither criticising the level of the English talent in the Premiership or over rating the Championship as the step is clearly huge between the two leagues, but it’s only highlighting the fact that last night’s performance was such a letdown that it reminded me of watching Crystal palace week-in week-out.

My point is that a minority of the players that walked out on to the Wembley pitch were clearly no record breakers, let alone England internationals who can add another dimension to the national squad.

After such a disappointing World Cup, England seemed to be on the up after the emergence of players such as Adam Johnson and Andy Carroll, but once again England was brought down to earth with a bang!

England were given another reality check last night and fans were again sent home wondering how our nation is going to move forward as a sporting community if the heavily relied on footballers cannot even set an example.
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