Pop over to Austria and Switzerland, find yourself a football pundit and ask this question: “Will Fabio Capello make a difference to the forthcoming performances of the England national team?”
The response you’ll get will probably be along the lines of ‘he’s a great manager and coach but you can only work with the tools you’re given’.
And that, in a nutshell, is England’s problem. Lots of enthusiasm, endeavour and belief but, at the end of the day (Brian) not enough technical ability.
Capello is going to have to work miracles to earn his enormous salary because, lets be honest, any Tom, Dick or Harry would probably pick at least 9 out of any England starting XI (James, Ferdinand, Terry, Cole, Gerrard, Barry, J Cole, Bentley, Rooney ? that’s our go).
And despite flirting with Terry Venables’ Xmas tree formation and the glory days when the likes of Mark Wright could manipulate the ball at the back like a continental defender, it’s going to be 4-4-2. Come to think of it £6 million a year is a lot of dough to select about 2 players and send them on their way with a: “C’mona lads. You canna do it. These Moldovans are of a poor quality. Justa lika any shop bought pasta sauce.” Or something like that.
So with the likes of Portugal, Spain and Holland showing the rest of Europe how high tempo, flowing, constructive, technically superior football should be played, it’s perhaps apt that Nike and the Premier League have chosen this time to team up to find the best footballing talent in the UK at a series of trials called Most Wanted.
The Most Wanted events will be running throughout July across the UK & Ireland and are designed to find 22 young talents with the hunger, drive and determination to take their game to the next level.
Starting on July 5 in London, the Most Wanted team will be running a series of open trials for 150 players (per trial) committed to prepare for the 08/09 season like it’s their last. At each event those worthy enough, those prepared to stand up and be counted, will be selected for the Most Wanted Final Squad and experience the ultimate training weekend with some of football’s biggest names.
Working with it’s stable of world-class talent within the FA Premier League, including Wayne Rooney, Joe Cole and William Gallas, Nike has developed a series of technical, mental and physical football trials that will test the all round strength of a select group of young British football talent.
Backing this up is a Nike TV advert which will air for the first time on ITV tomorrow night. However, being a Footy Boots regular, you don’t need to wait until then as you can catch a sneak preview here.
Featuring Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, it gives a truly unique insight into the passion and inspiration he brings to his players. The spot captures footage from the Carrington training ground where Sir Alex is running the rule over the latest crop of youth talent.Whilst watching over the training session, Ferguson’s relentless ambition and desire to take it to the next level come to the fore through a voiceover that the likes of Ronaldo, Rooney and Ferdinand will be all too familiar with.
With the failure of the Home Nations to qualify for Euro 2008, Fergie asks each young footballer watching if they are prepared to train for next season as if it’s their last and if they are good enough and strong enough to part of his Most Wanted.
“I know my reputation precedes me. But reputations don’t win games. Some call it temper. My boys know its passion. And they respect it. Because it means they’re worthy. The question is, are you? Are you going to sit back and watch a party that you are not invited to?.Or are you going to stand up and be counted? You have two months to become my most wanted. There’ll be no trophies, no gimmicks, no poetry. Just plain old fashioned graft. I’ll be waiting.”
An insider on set said: “It was amazing watching Sir Alex in action during filming. All of the youth team players were aware they were part of an ad but you could see they were affected by his presence, the intensity and quality improved the instant he came on set. No one was in doubt as to the influence and respect he commands throughout the club.”
Any player over the age of 16 can compete at their local trial for a place on the ultimate training weekend with the Manchester United manager.