England Must Still Win With Weakened Team

Wigan’s Emile Heskey looked very ordinary at Newcastle last Sunday and it probably shows the lack of choice Steve McClaren has in his England squad that Steve has recalled the former Liverpool striker to partner Michael Owen against Israel tomorrow in their European 2008 qualifier.

McClaren was at the Newcastle-Wigan game on Sunday and saw Heskey in action.


Wigan’s Emile Heskey – recalled to partner Owen tomorrow

The Wigan striker has not won a cap since Euro 2004 in France, but with England’s forward line hit by suspension and injury, Heskey has been selected, probably because of his experience at International level. All the commentary about him resurrecting his England career seems far-fetched. He’s been selected because England are down to the bare bones, but it does nevertheless give him a chance to shine. Reports suggest Heskey has done enough in training to convince Steve McClaren to start him at Wembley.

The two Euro qualification games against Israel and Russia next Wednesday are must-win games for England and anything but decent performances and points picked up will be very disappointing. Poor performances will be met with shouts again for the removal of Steve McClaren as England manager. We have always thought McClaren was a woeful if safe choice by the FA. He seemed to be the manager selected because he upset the least number of people. Steve’s done nothing in the England job to persuade us to think otherwise and certainly his management record has nothing in it to say he was qualified to be England manager in the first place.

But we do hope England can perform well in their next two games and win both of them. If we were to be brutally honest we see no good future for England under the current manager and it seems like at best we can scrape through to the European finals to be held next year in Austria and Switzerland. But given all the excellent players we have it seems we are under-achieving again.

It also doesn’t help Steve that he has so many players not available to him and he is even thinking of playing injured Steven Gerrard tomorrow. However, it didn’t look good yesterday when Gerrard pulled out of TV interviews about the game. The Liverpool skipper was said to be prepared to have a pain-killing injection for his toe injury before the game, but is still in doubt.

While Gerrard is desperate to play for his country his Spanish manager Rafa Benitez is urging the FA not to take any risks with his captain. McClaren also has concerns over Owen Hargreaves though a scan on his thigh injury yesterday revealed only a minor problem.


Michael Owen – key player for England tomorrow

In spite of some of our misgivings we will be cheering England on tomorrow and hope we can win both of our upcoming games. The good news is that Newcastle’s Michael Owen looked very sharp in the game against Wigan, and he is definitively getting back to his old predatory striking form. That has to be good news for England -and Newcastle.

Comments welcome.

14 comments so far

  • ToonKing

    Sep 7, 2007 at 10:20 AM

    Comment #1

    If Owen gets injured again i’m gonna choke McClaren.

    But i’m glad Big Sam didn’t become England manager….

  • Lamesley Mag

    Sep 7, 2007 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #2

    Let’s hope McLaren succeeds as the obvious choice for England Manager is the current manager of Newcastle United and we don’t want that, do we?

    England to win tomorrow and Owen will score 1 or 2 in the process!

  • Grambo

    Sep 7, 2007 at 10:30 AM

    Comment #3

    All I can see is Owen going down last time he played for England, no one any where near him….

    I hope he gets through the game uninjured, and maybe with a goal to boost his confidence!!

  • t-g-w

    Sep 7, 2007 at 11:22 AM

    Comment #4

    Well said about Mclaren’s crudentials Ed. He was a very poor choice as manager and the FA, after their ridiculous selection process and being snubbed by Scolari, just wanted to appoint someone quickly to make the process seem worthwhile. Looking at West Ham I’m glad Curbishley didn’t get the job but only time will tell if he he is eventually successful there. What England need and nedded after Eriksson was a completely different approach – Mclaren was merely a continuation of the stale, former regime. To me, Big Sam would bring a very different approach to the England job as he has done at Newcastle. The thought of losing him though at this early stage is a horrible one so I’m not going to decide whether he should be the Newcastle or England boss. Reading other comments though it seems that people on here put their club ahead of their country and I feel that reflects the nature of the game now which is a great shame.

  • Hadji

    Sep 7, 2007 at 11:38 AM

    Comment #5

    Well said Toon King just don’t forget to call me so we can choke him together if Owen gets injured again.
    You want a good manager?
    McClaren OUT
    Fabio Capello IN
    The result?
    England=World Champions 2010
    Fabio has won everything in his life with different teams but as he said many times”My only desire is to coach some English team”
    Why not the national team then?

  • dragoner

    Sep 7, 2007 at 11:48 AM

    Comment #6

    T-G-W your damn right my club comes before country, and NO i dont want allardyce as England manager, i want him to stay at The Toon. I also do not agree with your comment about Alan Curbishley, not only is he a proven, great manager, but the simple fact of the matter is you cant judge someones national team management capabilities by their performance at domestic level, sven is living proof of that

  • nightfall

    Sep 7, 2007 at 12:14 PM

    Comment #7

    i just hope sam isn’t tempted by england job… he probably will be offered a job if england doesn’t qualify… but the fact is it might happen…sam just arrived and everyone is talking about shearer becoming the next newcastle united manager…including solano… perhaps that’s also the reason why harper’s 1st goalie…perhaps sam’s already preparing…

  • rich

    Sep 7, 2007 at 12:24 PM

    Comment #8

    i have no hope for tommorow, i dont rate heskey at all EVERY single time ive seen him play for England he has sucked big time.

    We are really scraping the barrel calling up players like Heskey, Bentley & Lescott 🙁

    im suprised Milner didnt get the nod ahead of Bentley.

  • Ryan

    Sep 7, 2007 at 12:25 PM

    Comment #9

    @Ed – I am moving to Vail, Colorado and was wondering if i’ll get to see much EPL on tv over there. I’ve heard that they now have Setanta in America, but what about Skysports. I went to university in america 6 years ago and you could only watch premiership on payperview. I am a dedicated Newcastle fan but also a fan of football in general and would like to watch as much as possible. Any options?

  • Hadji

    Sep 7, 2007 at 1:13 PM

    Comment #10

    Personally i don’t think that Sam will become England’s manager but i cannot say that i’m 100% sure about that.I mean.if England doesn’t win against Israel that might be the end for McClaren so they would need a replacement instantly which i believe that Sam wouldn’t abandon us after just 4 months in charge.If he was at the club for like 2 years maybe he would but not now,its too early for that.Time will tell,but he should san NOOOO cause when he wanted to be England’s coach they chose McClaren over him.

  • leo

    Sep 7, 2007 at 1:32 PM

    Comment #11

    heskey is really good, he will link up well with owen, he looked strong against newcastles new and improved backline, i dont know why people are soo against him playing, lescott and bentley are good players too. milner is still young and will gain better experience from playing in the under21s.

  • TER

    Sep 7, 2007 at 1:46 PM

    Comment #12

    Ryan, we have FSC and Setanta whch show a combined 7 games every weekend. I am surprised my wife has not killed me yet.

  • Ed Harrison

    Sep 7, 2007 at 4:41 PM

    Comment #13

    Ryan – don’t worry you’ll be OK. Direct TV and Dish TV – both satellite systems over here that need a little dish – and are very popular – have Fox Soccer Channel (Owned by Rubert Murdoch and gets the Sky games) and Setanta Sports are over here. I have Time Warner cable – which gets Fox Soccer Channel but not Setanta Sports yet. So I get Setanta Sports via ITVN – which works on the TV with a broadband connection for $15/month. Of the 4 league games that Newcastle have played 2 have been live (Bolton and Middlesbrough) and last week’s Wigan game was shown tape delay at 4:30 EDT – so if you don’t know the score it’s like being live. Once I knew we had won 1-0 my son and I watched it – and were surpised how much we were than the reprots – we killed Wigan 1-0 😀
    Would recommend you get DirectTV – I may go that way if Time Warner don’t get Setanta soon. I’ll get my wife more film channels – so she’ll not object – well not too much 😀
    So you’re fine over here – they also show the MLS games on ESPN but don’t watch them – will if Beckham plays. Also ESPN shows 2 Champions league games (Tues and Wed) for each round – so that’s good because it’s nearly always the English teams they have on. This has changed significantly since 5-6 years ago and lots of American youngsters who play soccer – watch these games – which are really world class compared to MLS.

  • Ed Harrison

    Sep 7, 2007 at 4:42 PM

    Comment #14

    nightfall – i see you are in the Major News today – see quotes 😀


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