England's shock exit to Iceland at Euro 2016 led to Roy Hodgson's resignation, and now Teddy thinks it's time for Wenger to take the reins
'At this level you need to keep the ball and control games. That is what Arsene Wenger’s teams do'
Roy Hodgson is a lovely bloke. He’s a gentleman. But that’s reflected in his teams – they’re alright, they’re nice. That doesn’t get you far in tournaments. That doesn’t win you major competitions.
It’s time England turned to Arsene Wenger.
If you look at the way Arsenal play they have a structure to the team. Wenger is under scrutiny for not winning things at Arsenal and people will disagree with me backing him for the England job, but you need a bit of everything in a football team. That blend is crucial. England have strength, passion, desire, hunger, and bullishness. They are strong-mindedness and resilient. But England need structure. They need guile and finesse. This is why we’ve gone down the foreign manager route before – Fabio Capello had a 68% win rate, the highest for an England manager ever. England don’t play with any kind of cleverness currently. When they fall behind they launch it into the channels and can’t wait to get away from their own goal, just like they do in the Premier League. At this level you need to keep the ball and control games. That is what Arsene Wenger’s teams do.
The manager is there to implement his philosophy, and to make sure everyone in the team knows where the opposition is weak, and how to attack those deficiencies. The manager’s role last night against Iceland was to show the players how to beat the opposition – yet not one of those players looked like they knew.
What England produced yesterday was simply shocking. As soon as we went behind it was panic stations. All that controlled football we had played in the opening few group games went out of the window. The players were playing as if they had to score immediately after going 2-1 down and there was no composure. They still had 70 minutes to go after falling behind, but alarm set in.
There were no basics for England to work from. It all seemed very hopeful and off the cuff. I can’t even tell you what tactics we were implementing last night – I couldn’t see any! The mentality was – see it, do it. There was no clear tactical nous to fall back on. It was like watching eleven headless chickens on the field.
That comes from the manager, and that’s Roy Hodgson’s responsibility.
There’s no problem with the desire of the England team. That’s never been an issue. Those players know what is at stake and every one of them to a man was trying to put things right. But they were trying to do it as individuals, not as a team.
Those players will be so low this morning. Punters don’t understand. The lads will be feeling ten times worse than any supporter because of how they have performed. Without a doubt. No questions asked. That was their big chance. This is what they’ve dreamed of. They haven’t just started thinking about it last week and gone down the pub looking forward to a great game. Those players have worked towards this for the last 15 years, honing their skills to perform for their country at the highest level. For it all to go so pear-shaped in a game England were expected to win will make them feel gutted.
The belief that England players don’t care is nonsense. Absolute rubbish. They want to produce their best moments on the football pitch for England. That’s why they train hard from a young age, to get that chance to play for England and maybe one day represent their country on a major stage. They dream of earning the respect and adulation of people for what they do on a football pitch. They will be feeling absolutely desperate.
England have the players who are capable without a doubt. We might not have as many top players as we did 20 years ago, but there’s plenty of class in that squad. Everyone in that team can play the game, they can all pass the ball, and it’s just being told a plan and having the confidence to carry it through. Arsene Wenger can implement his style on England. It’s what we need.