NO­BODY IS GIV­ING ENG­LAND A CHANCE ...BUT I AM

Daily Mail - - World Cup 2018 - TERRY VEN­ABLES

Istill trem­ble when i think of Eng­land — not out of fear but pride and a be­lief there should be no limit to what we can achieve if the spirit is right. My pas­sion for all things as­so­ci­ated with Eng­land came nat­u­rally as a young­ster growing up in Es­sex af­ter the sec­ond World War.

it has never left me; as an observer, fol­lower, fan, call it what you like; as player, coach and fi­nally as na­tional man­ager.

if you do not feel that sear­ing level of emo­tion days be­fore a World Cup opener, it is sim­ple — you shouldn’t be in­volved in rep­re­sent­ing the coun­try.

if you are not able to cel­e­brate suc­cess or ac­knowl­edge de­feat with­out welling up in tears, for­get it.

if you can­not ac­cept your re­spon­si­bil­ity to give your all for the cause then there should be no place for you.

it’s how i wanted my Eng­land play­ers to be and how i trust Gareth south­gate’s troops are re­spond­ing to his teach­ings on the eve of bat­tle.

i would not be so crass as to tell them how to do it — it is too late for that any­way — but i think it is worth re­call­ing how it spun out for us when we were hosts of the 1996 Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship.

We came des­per­ately close to suc­cess in a ma­jor tour­na­ment and i was con­vinced we would win against the odds. We nearly did it but then ‘ nearly’ is the English curse.

Very few among the pun­dit fra­ter­nity seem to give Gareth’s squad a chance. Well, i do.

the per­ceived wis­dom ac­cepts they have tal­ent but are too young, too in­ex­pe­ri­enced and lack­ing in vi­tal ar­eas.

Even some­one with the vast ex­pe­ri­ence of Gary lineker, a very re­spected voice, has sug­gested Gareth should use Rus­sia to es­tab­lish a team for Qatar in four years’ time. Us­ing the fi­nals of a World Cup as a launch­ing pad, an up­mar­ket fin­ish­ing school for millionaire foot­ballers? No, i don’t think so. it is an at­ti­tude that would not be ac­cept­able on the ground when the coun­try ex­pects win­ners every time. We have to be more than merely happy just to be a ju­nior part­ner in Rus­sia. Eng­land are there to be suc­cess­ful. No ex­cuses.

My team only got it to­gether as a proper group af­ter a con­tentious trip to China with the in­fa­mous Hong Kong ‘den­tist chair’ in­ci­dent and the spu­ri­ous drama in­volv­ing one or two play­ers, Paul Gas­coigne among them, on the flight home to the UK.

there was a defin­ing mo­ment in China — apart from my fury at the mis­be­haviour of a mi­nor­ity of my play­ers — and it came ear­lier on the flight from Bei­jing to Hong Kong. i sug­gested, i won’t say de­manded, the play­ers take over the busi­ness­class seats from the trav­el­ling FA party of coun­cil­lors.

it was ap­plauded by the play­ers and i be­lieve it was the start of what we called our ‘col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity’. it quickly kicked in as our mantra. On our re­turn home, with the ‘ scan­dals’ be­hind us, i was run­ning a tight ship with my staff, the play­ers, Gra­ham Kelly — the out­stand­ing FA chief ex­ec­u­tive who gave me every sup­port and whose wis­dom is a great loss to the game since he walked away from it all — plus David Davies who also worked closely with the play­ers and my­self as our con­fi­dant.

the mo­ment we ar­rived at our base at the Burn­ham Beeches ho­tel in the gen­teel Buck­ing­hamshire coun­try­side i sensed it would be as near to per­fect as is pos­si­ble.

Ev­ery­thing was geared for us. Ev­ery­body was on our side, from the wait­ers to the coach driv­ers.

it was about trust be­tween us. there would be no mav­er­icks, no egos, no cliques, no WAGs, no booze, no agents, ab­so­lutely no out­side in­ter­fer­ence. there would be no back-bit­ing at any level on the field, on the bench or at the ho­tel.

We had ex­cel­lent play­ers like les Fer­di­nand who knew he would only get a chance to come on as sub­sti­tute in the most ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances yet he and other play­ers like him were to­tally sup­port­ive.

there would be no foot­ball as in the past, so friv­o­lous and fid­dly — i would con­sider it out­ra­geous to be show-boat­ing in an Eng­land jersey.

there have been in­stances of play­ers over the years who treated Eng­land ap­pear­ances less se­ri­ously than his coach would want. When it

‘If you are not able to cel­e­brate suc­cess or ac­knowl­edge de­feat with­out welling up in tears, for­get it’

hap­pens and it’s ob­vi­ous you think, ‘ He’s got it wrong, he seems to be us­ing this as a per­sonal stage’.

It is won­der­ful to watch the mar­vel­lously tal­ented mav­er­icks in full flow, but their tal­ent can be mis­placed.

I do not be­lieve for a minute they were de­lib­er­ately sab­o­tag­ing the team’s chances though.

There are many rea­sons for not se­lect­ing a player.

I did not use Matthew Le Tissier in my Euro ’96 squad and it was a de­ci­sion quite a few dis­agreed with. My judg­ment was made not on what he could of­fer com­pared to oth­ers, but what I felt he could not. There is no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for crit­i­cis­ing tal­ent, un­less that tal­ent pro­duces lit­tle or noth­ing for the team. These would be young men go­ing about their busi­ness as pro­fes­sion­als.

When we failed to make the fi­nal af­ter the semi-fi­nal shootout de­feat against Ger­many it was dev­as­tat­ing. The hurt was so deep be­cause I knew we were spe­cial. To me we had failed the peo­ple. Our sup­port­ers didn’t get the re­ward I wanted for them.

I still lie awake now think­ing about that. It still hurts. Gareth’s squad are a rel­a­tively young group of play­ers and are cer­tainly lack­ing in big tour­na­ment ex­pe­ri­ence but he has de­cided they are the very best avail­able for this tour­na­ment and they should know that we back them.

Now they must re­spond to that sup­port. This is not a dress re­hearsal but the real thing. Terry Ven­ables was speak­ing to Alex Mont­gomery

Heir shot: (l-r) John Stones, Nick Pope, Ra­heem Ster­ling, Eric Dier, Jor­dan Henderson, Danny Wel­beck, Jor­dan Pickford, Harry Maguire, Ruben Lof­tus-Cheek, Gary Cahill, Harry Kane, Phil Jones, FA Pres­i­dent Prince Wil­liam, Jack But­land, Jamie Vardy, Jake...

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.