Blinkered Fergie cannot see what’s best for England team
SIR ALEX FERGUSON has again moaned his head off about having some of his best players being dragged halfway across the world for what he regards as a meaningless mid-season match.
But Ferguson reveals only his selfishness and small world by his words.
The truth about England’s friendly against Brazil in Doha this evening is that it is a crucial part of their preparations for next year’s World Cup finals in South Africa.
Ferguson criticised the match in the Middle East and the 10,400km round trip as “a coach’s nightmare”.
He’s so blinkered that he can’t see the intrinsic value to England.
But as England coach Fabio Capello rightly pointed out “most other countries are playing two games but we are only playing one match and returning the players on Sunday, four days earlier than the other countries.
“We did this out of respect to the players and their clubs at such a busy time in the fixture calendar.”
The fixture was arranged as part of a reciprocal agreement whereby Brazil opened the new Wembley stadium more than two years ago.
Of course, playing in Doha will guarantee a big financial pay out for both countries, estimated at around £4 million (R48m) each, in England’s case most of that from selling the UK TV rights.
But much more than money is at stake here. England badly needs the exposure to South American styles that a game like this will give them. They might have stayed at home and asked Colombia or Venezuela to come to Wembley. But how much more will they learn from playing Brazil, together with Spain, one of the favourites for next year’s World Cup finals.
Brazilian teams, with their innate flair and high skill factor, are always a very different proposition compared to European opponents. The way they can control the pace of a game, slowing it down and then speeding it up in a trice, is something good opponents need to study at close hand. Watching how a great player like Kaka operates close up has to be beneficial for England’s own World Cup hopes.
I suspect that Capello will learn more about his players from a single friendly match against Brazil than he may have done from their last three qualifying ties.
Crucial little facts are to be gleaned here; can a player match the speed of thought of the clever Brazilians, is he sufficiently tactically smart to operate at this level ?
Who in the England team has the skills to keep the ball the way the Brazilians do as they seek an opening in the opposition rearguard?
All these issues will be crucial in determining the 23 names who will be Capello’s eventual choice for his World Cup squad.
Capello has impressed everyone by the professional manner in which he has revitalised England.
It’s just a shame that you still get people like Ferguson bleating because they can’t see beyond their own backyard.