England Current Generation Versus The Golden generation

England Current Generation vs The Golden generation

England Current Generation Versus The Golden generation

On paper, it would be easy to make the argument that England’s Golden Generation could be one of the greatest ensembles to grace a football pitch. A lot was expected of a team boasting names such as John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Wayne Rooney. However, this generation’s greatest achievement was losing to Brazil in the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup. They then went on to lose to Portugal not once but twice, in major tournaments, first, in the first knockout round of Euro 2004 as well as the quarter-finals of World Cup in 2006.

The reason for this kind of failure, despite having some of the greatest players of their generation among their ranks, largely came down to coaching. According to former England international Rio Ferdinand, it was then coach Sven-Goran Eriksson's tactics that were the cause of such performances on the international stage. Rio told BBC 1, "Sven told me, my center-backs don't run with the ball. I want to play for England, I'll do what's asked of me. But I was devastated, gutted, it took away a lot of my performance in an England shirt. It also took a lot away from us collectively because where we were going in the right direction with Glenn I thought we took steps back with Sven." This lack of adventure and expression stifled the team.

This is in complete contrast to what Gareth Southgate is doing with this new-look England team. Centre-back John Stones is encouraged to bring the ball out of the back, with the new formation allowing wingbacks Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose and Ashley Young to bomb forward. The attacking players are given much more freedom to express themselves in the final third of the pitch. Wayne Rooney, despite being England’s all-time leading goalscorer struggled at major tournaments, compared to Harry Kane today, who is considered to be one of the best No. 9s in the business, even at such a young age. Players like Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard, Dele Alli and Marcus Rashford are breath of fresh air, providing speed and unpredictability to an already dynamic attack. Maybe, just maybe, this could be their time to shine.

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