Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu says that he is astounded by the fact that England have not achieved success in the last four decades despite having some of the best facilities in world football. Barcelona recently brought in defender Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia for £ 16 million, thus making him the world’s most expensive defender about the age of 30. He is also the club’s first signing in the centre back position since 2009. He has been part of the Barcelona team that trained at the St George’s complex – a purpose-built training facility by the England football Association.
It is reported to have cost the England FA more than £ 150 million, thus making it one of the most expensive in the world. After having been amazed at the facilities on offer, Mathieu says that he is lost for words considering that England have not achieved anything at the international stage since the 1966 World Cup victory. England were recently knocked out of the World Cup at the group stages, which was their worst performance in a World Cup since 1958. St George’s complex was built in order to replicate the success achieved by Germany, who had built a facility of their own following disappointments in the late 20th century.
“I don’t know why, having these lovely facilities, England haven’t done well – it is something I cannot answer. The English team would be the right people to answer that question. We only can say that we have enjoyed so much the great facilities and the amazing pitch. All the team have been so happy to train together and to get to know each other much better,” said the 30-year-old. It is expected that Mathieu will be replacing former Barcelona captain Carlos Puyol. He will partner Gerard Pique at the back.~
Rio Ferdinand has claimed that England manager Roy Hodgson does not have the key ingredient that is required to win a major tournament like World Cup or European championship. Hodgson was appointed as the replacement for Fabio Capello before the Euro 2012. England suffered an early exit at the Euro, but there was no criticism of Hodgson since he had been appointed only a few months before the tournament. He was expected to do much better and show his true quality at the World Cup 2014. However, England have once again suffered an early exit.
They were knocked out of the World Cup at the group stages for the first time since 1958. This has asked a lot of questions about Hodgson, who will be staying on in his role. The English FA and the manager himself have confirmed that quitting is not an option right now. However, former England international Ferdinand says that Hodgson may not have the qualities required to win a major tournament. After having played under top managers like Sir Alex Ferguson, Ferdinand seems aware of the qualities that a manager needs in order to be successful.
Hodgson has had little success at club level without lifting any major titles like the Premier League the Champions League. “It was always likely England might struggle, as I wrote before the tournament. And there are all kinds of underlying issues to be addressed, as I outlined a fortnight ago. A visionary manager would help. Hodgson is a pleasant-enough man, extremely intelligent and has a CV with enough clubs and countries to show how widely he is respected. But if I’m brutally honest then, for me, he lacks that extra ingredient to set him apart,” said Ferdinand.
Interestingly, Ferdinand was brutally axed from the squad by Hodgson a few years ago.Ferdinand
England manager Roy Hodgson has stated that he is extremely happy with the performances of his place in the recent friendly match against Peru. A couple of players like Phil Jones had to be withdrawn from the matchday squad, but they are expected to be part of the squad that flies to World Cup 2014. The Manchester United defender suffered a slight injury, but Hodgson’s assumption is that the problem will not be serious. Another player suffering from a problem is Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who felt a slight strain in his calf.
On the pitch, it was more positive news for the national team as they managed a 3-0 win over Peru. After the back-to-back defeats against Chile and Germany in a couple of friendlies back in November, England have returned to form with two consecutive wins over Denmark and Peru. They have also not conceded any goals in the last two matches, which will be a positive feeling for the national team. Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge opened the scoring for England at the new Wembley in the 32nd minute. Chelsea defender Gary Cahill and Everton defender Phil Jagielka scored between five minutes of each other to give England a resounding win in the second half.
“They could have played tonight but we thought it would be better for them to do an extra day’s training. The most important thing for us was to come through it unscathed, injury-wise. It was a wonderful send-off to the World Cup by a quite incredible crowd. We had to be patient but we were dominant throughout. It is the perfect end to a perfect two weeks,” said Hodgson after the win over Peru. The team will be taking on Ecuador and Honduras in the final two friendly matches before the tournament opening match against Italy.
England manager Roy Hodgson is widely expected to leave out Ashley Cole from England’s squad. The Chelsea defender also announced his retirement from international football after the final Premier league game of the season. England will be taking on the likes of Italy and Uruguay in the group stages of the World Cup 2014. Despite the proposed tough group matches, Hodgson is expected to take a young squad with him. A number of players like Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw are expected to be included in the squad. These players have little international – let alone major tournament – experience.
Cole, on the other hand, is one of the most experienced players at international level after having amassed more than 100 caps for the national team. He is the record appearance holder for a left back, while many think that he is the world’s best in this position right now. The 33-year-old, though, has featured very rarely in the second half of the season for Chelsea. Injuries and suspensions, though, have meant that he has been playing regularly of late. Still, his future has been up in the air for some time since his contract with Chelsea comes to an end in the summer.
He is expected to leave the club in the summer and was seen in tears after the Norwich match.
“Among many difficult decisions I’ve had to make for my squad, not selecting Ashley was one of the hardest. To amass over a century of caps is a truly staggering achievement and he deserves enormous credit for the desire and brilliance which has shone through over the years he has represented his country. There are few players who can be considered among the very best in the world, but Ashley in his prime was the best left-back without question,” said Hodgson.
There have been several suggestions that England manager Roy Hodgson would consider taking Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, who is having a tremendous campaign with the blues, for the World Cup 2014. However, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has ruled out a warning for Hodgson says that there is little substitute for experience and that the former Liverpool manager should stick with taking the experienced campaigners for this World Cup. He says that Barkley should be given opportunity to impress in the qualification rounds before being taken for the grand stage.
Wenger has himself seen the negative experiences of taking a player to sound. This happened with his first start Theo Walcott who went to the World Cup 2006 as a teenager. Even though he never played in the tournament, Walcott has never been able to fulfil his potential since then. Wenger says that the pressure of a World Cup is too huge for young shoulders to handle. The 20-year-old Barkley will be one of the players to watch when Arsenal visit Goodison Park for a crunch match this weekend.
Everton could get a significant advantage in the top spot race with a win over the gunners, who are just a couple of points ahead.
“For me Barkley has a big impact this season. He is one of the top young English players I have seen in my time here, it is difficult to rank him but he is one of the best I have seen. He has made a big step forward because he has gone from being a young hope to convincing everybody that he has huge potential and talent and that he can have a huge impact on big games. It is good that he is not guaranteed a World Cup place,” said Wenger, whose team defeated Everton earlier in the campaign.