His ability to galvanise players is not the question. Even if Harry Redknapp is unable to delve into the transfer market when serving the Three Lions should he be named the new manager, there is an endless pool of players that he will have at his disposal to chop, change, revive and even reinvent.
Yet success, which realistically is reaching the last four of this summer’s Euros, is only possible if the players needed to do so are at his disposal.
Long gone are the days when England could play four robust midfielders across the centre line. Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and many of Europe’s lesser-knowns now demand a different breed of football to compete.
If you cannot beat them—one-off friendlies aside, England can’t—then you must join them. England’s twilight men, Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard, John Terry and Frank Lampard, should all step aside if the safety approach is to be shelved and youth properly embedded. No longer should the national side cower behind the shield of experience.
As history shows, it's a history of failing.
They key shape is not 4-4-2 or 4-5-1, but a simpler one: the triangle. Europe’s premier teams are capable of forming them and knocking the ball around flatter sides such as England.
What will hamper the man in charge of England’s summer campaign is not just his bravery in selection, but injures. The catalysts for change—Jack Wilshere, Tom Cleverley and Phil Jones, the latter as a centre half—are all sidelined.
Yet all are expected to return within a month and must be given the full preparation necessary. Scott Parker will remain England’s rudder and many people’s choice as captain, as well as a platform from which Cleverley, Wilshere and Rooney can build.
Even if this collection of new English roses fails to be fit or is deemed not trustworthy enough, England are better off calling upon those who, for various reasons, have removed their name from the hymn sheet.
Is there a better English centre-back than Ledley King? Or a more caring fosterer of the ball than Paul Scholes? The answers to both is no.
In short, England must either look to their future or their immediate past if they are to mix it with the best. What they must not do is dwell in the present.
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