I have to admit, the older I get, the further I become disconnected with the higher reaches of the game.
The Premier League, to me, is over-rated and ruined with Sky’s ‘support’ to the tune of billions of £, and it seriously means nothing to me.
The players? Well, I wouldn’t be able to name the clubs any of them come from because of this; hah, I wouldn’t even recognise two-thirds of them!
And do you know something? I’m not at all bothered by this.
I’m even less bothered by the fact that we’ve come again to the bi-annual ‘festival’, that is either the World Cup or the European Championships, and the perennial delusion that England could be good enough to challenge for the Cup hovers in the air like a desert mirage.
The first tournament I recall was the 1982 World Cup, held in Spain, famous for Bryan Robson’s goal after 27 seconds, and even though England never lost a game, they went out in the second round.
In the intervening years, the closest England ever got was a fourth place in Mexico 1990 (losing to then West Germany on penalties).
To be truthful, there’s never been a time when I felt England ever had a team worthy of even being considered as serious contenders, despite the drivel from the tabloid press (and some of the players).
For this summer in Russia, nothing has changed that much. Ok, the tabloids are now a lot wiser and being more cagey about England’s chances, but some of the players of this squad still think they are contenders, captain Harry Kane for one. Understandable that they have to believe they could, otherwise what’s the point in them going?
Come on, let’s face it, we don’t have the quality to match the likes of Brazil, Germany, Argentina to name but 3, and to think we can be lucky enough to even get close to the final is real castle-in-the-air thinking.
I know some people have made much of the fact that the whole squad is based in England and plays in the Premier League, but when you actually look at it, it’s a damning indictment of the quality of the game in England when there isn’t an English international player making his living in La Liga, Serie A or the Bundesliga and there hasn’t been for a long time.
Hardly the quality of contenders is it? Let’s not kid ourselves, the quarter-final is as far as I would give the current national team.
We’re threadbare in goal, the defence looks wobbly, take out Dier and Alli out of midfield and how short on quality is that?
Up front is the only sector of the squad that looks good enough to be able to cope at the highest level; Kane, Sterling, Vardy, Welbeck and Rashford all give the impression of having the ability to play on this highest stage.
We’ll no doubt play well and create a few headlines. But winning it? Give over! We’re not good enough.
Let’s just go and enjoy the competition…