Imagine the scenario: Emile Heskey has a blinder of a tournament, setting up Defoe and Rooney for winners in two games, feeding Crouch for a couple in another and even scoring himself as England storm to World Cup triumph. Sunderland fans who moaned about Darren Bent’s exclusions begin to look small-minded and absurd. But none of this has happened yet and we are entitled to question not only the nature and basis of decisions made on our behalf, but also whether Bent was ever more than a token member of the provisional squad. Let
Jeremy Robsondo battle …
Once, I worked with someone who described his boss as being “more content at the centre of failure, than at the edge of success”.
Psychologists often speak of a personality trait which defends against failure. Kids at school will often say that they “didn’t try” in an exam, thus providing an excuse to protect against the embarrassment associated with failure.
Of course, there is no guarantee that effort will necessarily lead to success. Success is uncertain, and depends on the coming together of many factors.
Failure of course can be guaranteed by a lack of effort, particularly if that lack of effort acts in combination with a lack of ability. This is a combination which in most walks of life provides a guarantee of failure… unless, that is, you are Emile Heskey. When effort and ability combine themselves in tandem the outcome is usually success, unless of course your name is Darren Bent.
Darren of course has failed where bizarrely according to most observers, Emile has succeeded, having been included in the England World Cup Squad. Darren’s objective success in scoring 24 goals in what we are constantly reminded is “the toughest league in the world”, has been judged subjectively as not being good enough to make the squad for South Africa.
It is worth noting that Darren just keeps consistently scoring goals wherever he has been. Emile on the other hand has more splinters in his not inconsiderable backside than he has Premier League goals: five in 45 games for Villa, (Jermain Defoe got that many in a single game against Wigan last season); 15 in 82 for Wigan; 14 in 68 for Birmingham.
So, for his last three clubs he has managed a grand total of 34 goals in 195 games. Darren Bent on the other hand has scored 42 goals for his last two clubs (Spurs and Sunderland) in 98 games. (That’s eight more goals in half as many games, Mr Capello).
Well, apart from the obvious gulf in achievement between these two players what is the major difference? Well, Heskey is going to South Africa and Bent isn’t. It’s the most clear case of who you know and not what you do since the European Golden Boot winner Kevin Phillips was overlooked for Darius Vassell.
Bent’s exclusion would be understandable in the presence of consistent goal scorer in the squad. There isn’t and his exclusion to the benefit of Heskey is simply ridiculous, In what formation, and under what circumstances is Heskey going to be selected to play?
Were it not for leaving out Theo Walcott then you could be excused for thinking the team was still being picked by a dull Swedish bloke with an abnormally active libido for someone of his age wearing glasses like that.
The so called “golden generation” of English players that went to the World Cup in Germany glittered about as much as a discarded Kit Kat wrapper, as they floundered without a proper forward line, in the same way that they floundered without a proper forward line in the preceding European Championships some two years earlier.
A dismissal or a single injury and the English boat is sunk. The definition of stupidity that I like the most proposes that stupidity can best be observed when the same behaviours are repeated time and time again, and then wondering why the outcome never changes. This squad is like the last one, the one before that, and arguably the one before that too.
Capello came with an early flourish, seemingly ignorant of the fact that the media would be picking his team for him. In one sense he has been a quick learner. He understood the principle before he really grasped the language of his adopted nation. He’s also readily grasped the need to defend against failure too. When the English team come home with their collective tails between their shaven tanned legs, after Wayne Rooney gets sent off for taking a foul throw against the USA, Fabio will be able to tell the English public that he only picked the team that the Evening Standard had been telling him to, just like MacLaren, Eriksson, and Taylor.
Does he realise how far it is from central London to Wearside? It’s several hours on the train mate, and we want to be back home to tuck up the kids and have some supper! Bloody cold as well! The North Sea isn’t the Adriatic Fabio!
It reminds me of that song by The Who, Meet the old boss, same as the old boss. ”I can see the Sun headline now “Capello pasta best,” as he trots off to take over from Jose in Milan. Capello has put himself right at the centre of failure with his pick of 23. There is no ambition, no hunger, and most importantly a complete lack of judgement, objectivity or conviction.
Roll on 2014. Heskey will be too old, and his place will go to promising young Walcott. By that time we can hope that the England coach has been replaced by some Civil Service Committee or ConLib back benchers. God knows they could hardly do worse.