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.

Comments (4)

  1. A winning team contains no hierarchy,no prima donnas,no questionable attitudes. There are other shortcomings such as player intelligence or lack of it and the lack of exposure to demanding technical exercises from an underage level. The EPL is now awash with top draw technical expertise but this appears mostly at the higher end and there is a lack of young English talent being exposed to it. Any remedies being put in place now is simply too little to late.

  2. When you are a member of the ONLY group of people who did something for your country, ever, you ARE a living icon. When the rest of your career is enough to gain iconic status without the World Cup trophy, you can say what you want, when you want. To state that Charlton has abused that right is absurd.

    Bobby Charlton an attention whore? The guy who refused to wear a medal when given one after the 2008 Champions League final because “the players earn those” while Peter Kenyon wandered a round like a gobshite with his loser’s medal on?

    Bobby Charlton an attention whore? I’m not sure you’ve trolled that deep before, Whittall.


  3. I have to agree with Charlton on this one.
    The English players playing on top teams in the EPL are really just bread & butter guys made to l ook better than they are by the exceptional play of others such as Aguero, Droghba and Suarez.
    There are few English players today with the class and skills of Brooking, Moore and Charlton himself.

    Too much running and kicking it up the park are still being taught at many ‘academies’ of professional clubs and that will never produce the qualities displayed by teams like Barcelona.

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