Making the right choice: England FA 1 Liverpool 0
MAY 3 — It has been an eventful extended weekend. Something that started on Saturday night and, for me, ended on Wednesday morning.
The football was not the best but the hype surrounding it was certainly the biggest ever seen. We will talk about the Manchester derby but first, the appointment of Roy Hodgson as England manager.
I, for one, am very pleased Harry Redknapp did not get the job. He certainly did not deserve the England manager position.
The so-called “People’s Choice” — and we have quite a few in Malaysia, too ... and I am not referring to Malaysian football here — was not even considered. No surprise because “People’s Choices” can blur the thinking.
After all, the form of Totteringham Hotspur took such a dip this year — more so after Redknapp’s name was linked to the national job — that instead of sacking Redknapp, the owners at White Hart Lane had the red carpet rolled out for him.
It was ultimately all going to end in tears for a man who fails miserably when it comes to coaching. Spurs have been badly coached since February and the results have proved that Redknapp was just too risky for the England job that has seen many managers come and go over the years.
This England team needs to be coached. There are some good players but they do not seem to be good enough at international level. The lack of tactics and a lack of a playing philosophy have hampered the English despite the success of their domestic league.
And Hodgson will bring just that. We just have to look at Danny Murphy as a player fading away after being “not good enough” for Liverpool and voila, Hodgson transforms him into a deep-lying playmaker who is good enough to take Fulham into the Europa League final.
The English FA have made the right footballing decision (for a change) and quite perhaps Euro 2012 is too short a time for Hodgson to make an impact but at least the French, Swedes and the Ukrainians will have to overcome a structured and better organised England.
The irony of Hodgson being named England manager must not be lost on many a Liverpool supporter, on the day that the Reds lost again at home.
However, as I am being reminded by my YNWA friends, it was the Liverpool second team that played. Since when has it been perfectly acceptable to lose with second stringers?
So, I remind my YNWA friends, what does this say about the future of Liverpool Football Club?
The football club with a great past seems to have absolutely no direction to a great future.
It just makes one feel so sad for the sorry state of affairs at Anfield. Yes, that’s what it is — despite having one minor trophy in the bag and possibly winning a more coveted one this Saturday — for it would be a disaster to end up behind Mersey rivals Everton and all for a mid-table position at that.
The current crop of players do not understand this enough, while Kenny Dalglish seems to lack the ability to motivate his boys to dig deep and call upon that something extra to pip the Toffees.
Speaking of cross-town rivals, there was this much-hyped match between the two giants of Manchester, City and United on Monday night.
If there is one thing that we learnt from the Manchester derby, it is that, like Liverpool, the red half here too has no immediate plans for the future.
By trotting out Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes at the Etihad Stadium in such a crucial match, was Alex Ferguson trying to say he has not planned for the future or that he just has no confidence in his younger players?
The lack of energy — and you will surely lack energy if you leave out Danny Welbeck, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young from the starting line-up — was apparent against a City side that felt comfortable playing at a slower pace.
The marauding Pablo Zabaleta was given so much time and space on the right that he must have thought he was back home on the Pampas.
Anyhow, at the end of a very long day, the Mother of all Hypes never really delivered as many had hoped.
*The views expressed here are the personal views of the columnist.