The Roland Harris Column

Saturday 22 June, 2002

England 2006: Back the bid

No one does "I've just been beaten by a stupid goal" better than Dave Seaman. Perhaps its the 'tache or one of many stupid hair cuts but he is face screams "You know this is the down side to all those great saves". [It's cause he looks like Rupert Pupkin from The King of Comedy- BfB ed]

This is Seaman's last World Cup and it's a shame that he ended it looking so stupid if only cause it sort of negates the laughing at Leeds for giving him a free transfer twenty years ago. We start looking for a new Seaman now. Nigel Martyn? No thanks, he seems a little too good at throwing the ball back to strikers after a shot. David James? Close, but no cigar. No, England are going to have skip a generation for the next keeper.

Leeds should forget Martyn and go with Paul Robinson who is for my money the future of English goalkeeping. A superb all round keeper England should pick him even if Leeds don't cause lets face it David O'Dreary would not know his best team if it was tattooed on the inside of his eyelids.

Chris Kirkland or Liverpool and Richard Wright of Arsenal can apply enough pressure on Robinson to make sure he stays at the top of his game.

Gary Neville at 31 in Germany? I think the search is on for a new right back. Danny Mills proved himself to be not good enough for England in the last five games. I'd be shoehorning Keiron Dyer in there as the English Cafu. We already have a budding Roberto Carlos in Ashley Cole who will beat Wayne Bridge long term. Lewis Emanuel? Perhaps, if he straightens himself out a bit and follows the path of Wayne Jacobs and not Lee Sharpe.

Rio and Sol. 'Nuff said.

In the future players will be good past being 30 and with this in mind I can see David Beckham brilliant at 31 leading England. Class like that does not fade. Paul Scholes is a different matter. All in all he had a shocker of a season not turning up for big games. My advice to Scholes if he wants to play for England to to get out of United. He needs proper week in week out in his own position, something Manchester Unitd would not do with Juan Veron about. Scholes will never leave Old Trafford though, he is a Salford boy born and (in)bred. To be honest I can see him fading from the international scene in the next couple of yeras.

Exit Scholes, enter Joe Cole.

Cole is the bomb. Pure and simple. He is still young and has the abilities of Gazza [or Claus Jorgensen- BfB ed] but the self control that means that he will not be making a tit of himself for TV in ten years time. Pair up the adventurous Cole with the silky skills and defensive mind of Steve Gerrard and you really do have the best central midfield in the world.

Left side. Trevor Sinclair got lucky but don't expect it to last. We still need someone there and I still cannot see anyone emerging. Frankly if you are a 15 year old kid with a half decent foot and a bit of pace at a football academy watching the World Cup on TV now then by the time the next one comes around you could be in the team. It's wide open for a genuine candidate. David Dunn will fill the role is we must, but we need a real left footer.

Owen, isn't it? Two goals every world cup. Owen will be the rip old age of 26 going into his third World Cup in four years time and will probably have a new partner. I like The Hesk but the simple truth is that a striker has to be able to score goals and he does not get enough. Besides that big fella/little fella partnership is a poor question to ask at International level. Much better a goal-getter/goal-setter partnership in the Lineker/Beardsley stylee. What we need is to find a Peter Beardsley to partner Michael Owen.

And yeah for the record I think that even though we never finished in the top 16 of it the Premiership should be cup down to that number and the Champions League should be scaled back but I have another idea for the pot. What about central contracts for England players. Players would still get to do club football but England would have first call on them and would be able to pull them out of football for ten days prior to any game. That way we might get a team spirit like South Korea. Those boys have been together for six months and it shows.

I'll push another idea in, just for the Hell of it. The World Cup seedings have allowed a Germany team that we pasted and finished above in qualifying to get to the semi-finals playing the likes of Saudi Arabia when we had Sweden, Ireland when we got Argentina and USA when we got Brazil. These seedings are based on rubbish. Performance in the past few competitions! They are broken. The likes of Senegal and South Korea have shown that.

It's about time that FIFA sorted out the seedings for the World Cup.

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