One of the more grating legacies of England’s 1966 World Cup win is the trotting out of the former players as “living icons,” to whom present England players can only hope to one day emulate. None has hogged that particular spotlight more than Sir Bobby Charlton, the legendary Manchester United player who cried tears of joy at the final whistle of extra time against West Germany at Wembley stadium.
That’s why it’s so refreshing to hear the man tell it like it is when it comes to the England national team. In other words, there’s little hope they’ll win the World Cup in Brazil in two years’ time:
“Perhaps, if the right group of players come together and stay together for a while and gel into a team, with the right manager, then perhaps it might happen, but I have to be honest and say it’s a way off.
“Since the European Union and the influx of so many foreign players, there is a definite shortage of English players from which the England manager can select, it has become far more difficult. I feel sorry for the England manager, whoever he is, as he simply doesn’t have enough players to choose from.”
Okay, so the diagnosis of the problem is the old canard about “foreign players,” but the underlying truth here—there aren’t enough elite English players to choose from in the top flight—remains intact.
The pool of players isn’t good enough. It took forty-six years of stupidity to get out in the open, but when Sir Bobby says it, the cat’s out of the bag.