Alarmist headline? Perhaps, but, if you have witnessed Fabian Delph, Raheem Sterling, John Stones and Kyle Walker playing for Manchester City throughout the 2017/18 season you will understand what I mean.
Gareth Southgate and his 23-man World Cup England squad fly out to Russia on Tuesday, 12 June to prepare for the following weeks first game of the tournament against Tunisia (Monday, 18 June). The Three Lions will also face Panama on Sunday, June 24 and Belgium on June 28.
The thing for me is, since August 2017 I have been royally spoilt watching City under Pep Guardiola. The team plays from Ederson in goal and general hit the opposition with both-barrels. The side has the squad to play with flair, skill, and determination while we Blues and football fans alike admire, mouths wide open in awe.
Can England play in a proven style, similar to the Premier League champions?
Predicting if England will make it out of Group G will depend on a couple of equations.
- Score more than the opposition – erm?
- Lady luck
How sad is that! But, I’m old enough to remember previous World Cup failures (I was only three in 1966 and so forget that one).
The only one that got me going was Italia 90. We had a team that was going places with Bobby Robson in charge, but fate played its part and let’s be honest, lady luck deserted us on that occasion.
What I’m trying to say is, with the current England squad, and based on the qualifiers and last week’s 2-1 friendly win against Nigeria our national side will probably be dumped out of the tournament after only three games.
My glass will be half full rather than the other way around if Southgate uses his noggin’ and plays the City four for the following reasons.
For the majority of the season, Pep was forced to play Fabian out of his natural position as a left-back. 29 games later the 28-year-old was recognised, and rightly so as one of the best Premier League players in the post.
He is also comfortable having John Stones and Kyle Walker to his right.
If I hear a BBC or ITV commentator mention his tattoo, I shall throw an empty beer can at the telly. Enough now!
The lad has had the best season of his career with a 23 goal tally. Okay, I admit he could have done even better in front of goal but his assists more than make-up for one or two boo-boos.
Raheem’s last miserable international tournament is nothing more than ‘water under the bridge.’ He’s learned from his experience and has to be a candidate for England’s starting XI.
A couple of injuries dogged John throughout and yet when he was called up the former Everton defender hardly put a foot wrong. Cool and calm under pressure England need him.
Quick as lightning on the right and with an ability to pass, Southgate would be a fool to leave him out.
Have I been biased towards City players?
If England is going to do the nation proud my answer is as plain as the nose on your face!
Can England win the 2018 World Cup?
What do you think?