Lions are lame: Butcher
> Former skipper say England are mentally weak and psychologically scarred
TERRY BUTCHER believes England are mentally weak and psychologically scarred. The former England captain says that years of failure have knocked the stuffing out of the nation’s top players and given them stage fright when it matters most at major tournaments.
Butcher – who was famously left bruised and bloodied in a World Cup qualifier against Sweden in 1989 – says the current squad possess players ready to take a battering for their country just like him, most notably Chelsea’s Gary Cahill.
But he believes the problem for Gareth Southgate’s men are the scars they are carrying that can’t be seen.
“It definitely is a mental problem... Psychologically we are very scarred,” said the 77-times capped former Ipswich and Rangers defender.
“We are backwards in terms of positivity. They’ve become used to going to tournaments and getting on the bus and the plane home very early.
“For an international team we’re pretty young and inexperienced – and mentally very, very weak. That comes through lack of progress in tournaments.
“That comes through not fulfilling the promise they’ve got. That can and does scar you.
“It’s more bravery than anything else. Bottle, guts, desire, heart, whatever you want to call it.
“There’s a lack of self-confidence with the players because of what’s happened. They’re so keen to get rid of the memories of Iceland, of the memories of Brazil – they’re so keen to do well.”
England are still picking up their pieces following their disastrous Euro 2016 under former boss Roy Hodgson when they suffered a humiliating exit at the hands of Iceland.
They face Scotland at Wembley tomorrow in a World Cup qualifier and Butcher has told them to be brave.
“You have to show passion in a different way,” he said.
“Whether that means being brave to take on the ball in tight areas, brave to take on the shot or brave to take people on or make that tackle and risk being red-carded.
“There is a bravery and passion in other things within the game. The intensity has changed that much.”
One man Butcher insists should be playing at Wembley is England captain Wayne Rooney.
“He is the captain and leader. If I was playing for Scotland – god forbid – if he didn’t play on Friday I’d be delighted, absolutely thrilled,” Butcher said. – Daily Star
A bloodied Terry Butcher after England’s World Cup qualifying match against Sweden in 1989.