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Football in England, Its not exactly thriving.

With more foreign talent then ever before now present in the top flight of English football and a national team that show absolutely no fight or passion to be playing in the England shirt, the country that brought us the beautiful game looks to be losing touch with the rest of the world...

...but not whilst Greg **** has something to say about it.

Just two months into his role of Chairman of the English FA, **** has laid out some lofty ambitions for the English national team.

"The two targets I have for the England team are;

1 - To at least reach the Semi-Finals of EURO 2020.

2 - Win the World Cup in 2022."
With just ten years to turn a lacklustre squad with an aging core into World Champions its going to be no small feat to live up to Dykes dream.

Three major tournaments stand between the current team and D-day and there's plenty of work to be done just to get there...
First of all we've got the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to qualify for and a tough group to try and qualify from.


Ukraine and Poland should be the main competition to qualify from this group, the former joint EURO hosts, should realistically be scrapping for the play-off spot, as we look to take control of the group early on, with the first game just two months away...



Operation **** is a go!
 
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First game of my time in charge of the Three Lions see's us go toe to toe with a sturdy South Korean side, with the media expecting me to mark my England and Wembley debut with a resounding victory.



- Frank Lampard ruled out by injury.

+ Steven Gerrard handed Captaincy.

+ Tom Cleverley set to claim first International Cap.

- Joe Hart suffers facial injury in pre-match training.






So nothings changed.

Having been placed in charge of England I of course opted for a solid 4-4-2 formation and was quickly fitting the mold of every other England manager before me as we coasted to a goalless draw in front of 73,000 disappointed England fans.

The combination of Walcott and Rooney upfront failed to threaten the Korean defence, with the best chance of the game falling to Captain Steven Gerrard, who kindly smacked the ball into the crowd from 10 yards.

With the World Cup qualifiers just one month away, its clear that something has to change.


Man of the match.



Pretty much sums up the entire game when Joleon Lescott is the best player in an England shirt.

A solid performance along side John Terry at the heart of our defence and with some stiff compeition from Smalling, Jones and Jagielka he's at least showing some desire to win his place.
 
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World Cup Qualifier



With my England career not exactly bursting into life, my first competitve game against San Marino presented me with a fine opportunity to put on a show of force...even if it is against a team ranked 209th in the world.


+ New 4-5-1 formation see's Rooney as lone striker

- No Theo down the flank, out with a minor injury

+ Frank Lampard returns from injury.

- Ashley Cole ruled out by injury, Baines steps up.

+
Its ******* San Marino.






Its hard to be critical of a six goal demolition but I really wanted double figures!

We showed no mercy as the game kicked off scoring five goals in the first twenty two minutes of the game as our new five man midfield tore into San Marino with glee, with Captain Stevie G, leading the charge with two goals and an assist to his name in the first half alone.

The remaining seventy minutes unfortunately failed to live up to the blazing start as despite amassing twenty four shots on target we struggled to find the back of the net, with even the inspired Gerrard missing the chance of an England hat-trick from the spot. With time ticking down, Frank Lampard scored a typical long range drive to seal a solid victory and send us top of the Qualification Group.

Now to stay there.



Man of the Match


Absolutely thrived sitting just behind Rooney, picking up two goals and an assist in an encouraging performance from the Liverpool Legend, as he completely outclassed his semi-pro opponents.

A missed Penalty might have cast a shadow over his performance but just seeing him and Lampard on the same score sheet more then made up for a wayward spot kick.
 
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World Cup Qualifier



Its not exactly been a testing start to my time in charge of the Three Lions push for the World Cup and an away trip to Moldova wouldn't exactly do anything to increase my standing, anything less then another thrashing would be disappointing.


+ Unchanged squad named

+ Theo and Cole both looking to be fit in time for Octobers games.

+ Its ******* Moldova






No bright start this time around as a frustrating first half an hour saw Moldova keep lone striker Rooney quiet with ease, however Chelsea's two talismanic Englishmen soon had us under way as first Lampard smashed home another low effort with former captain John Terry rising highest to meet a floating Leighton Baines free-kick to double the lead.

Aaron Lennon soon killed the game off after the restart with a fine individual goal as we coasted to a comfortable victory with a perfect start made to our World Cup campaign.

Two clean sheets and nine goals. If you ignore the opposition I can try and get away with pretending that's good.



Man of the Match



Frank gave him a run for his money but Gerrard once again dominated in the middle of the field, as an attacking midfielder he's still one of the best.

With Wilshere and Cleverley both snapping at his heels for a shot in the starting line up, Gerrard continues to show why he's been at the heart of the England team for over a decade, dictating the entire game and bringing the best out of a talented midfield.
 
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World Cup Qualifier



World Cup qualification has so far been all too easy for the Three Lions, lowly San Marino and Moldeva were hardly going to test us but our next opposition, the formidable Ukraine could prove to be a much tougher challenge, with sights set on Brazil the Eastern Europeans are taking this competition seriously.



+ Ashley Cole fit enough for the bench.

-
John Terry Retires from International football. Vice Captaincy goes to Lampard.

- Wayne Rooney ruled out for 5 months with a broken leg.

-
Ashley Young adds to injury woes. Scott Sinclair set to make debut as replacement.






With Terry retiring and Rooneys broken leg, the focus was on how England would cope without two of their most passionate players and after just six minutes it appeared Ukraine were going to take full advantage of a deflated England, firing in the first goal past Joe Hart since I took over as manager.

A whipped Baines free-kick however soon picked up the crowd as Yarmolenko bundled the ball into his own net but at half time things were looking far from steady in the England camp.

The team re-emerged in fighting spirits and some neat work down the left from Baines and Sinclair some them work the space to fire in a cross, allowing Lennon to tuck home a tidy goal at the back post.

With the match back in our favor no one would have blamed us for settling for the result but with time ticking down, Baines once again worked some more magic floating in an inviting corner that Terrys replacment, Phil Jagielka eagerly smashed into the back of the net to seal all three points and keep us firmly at the top of the table.


Man of the Match





Had a hand in all three of the goals and showed some real commitment to the cause as we struggled for motivation in the first half.

With Cole sidelined, Baines has made a strong claim to permanently hold down the left back role and on current form, I'm hardly going to argue with Evertons set piece master
 
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World Cup Qualifier


Qualification is going swimmingly so far. Just one goal conceeded in our first three games and were already past one of the toughest hurdles in the shape of the Ukraine, however plucky Montenegro are more then willing to put an end to our good fortune.



+ Ashley Young returns to full fitness

+ Baines holds on to left back infront of returning Cole.

- Minor Injury to Defoe, leaves me with just Sturridge and Welbeck available for the lone striker role.





Without Rooney upfront weve been short of a cutting edge in the final third but a ruthless midfield has come to the fore in recent games, making up for our lack of striking prowess with some well taken goals and two first half strikes from Captain Gerrard and the increasingly impressive Michael Carrick was enough to send us back to England with all three points.

Montenegro proved to be more of a handful then we anticipated and the hosts were unfortunate to not have atleast one goal in the back of the net as Fiorentina's much admired striker, Jovetic rattled the woodwork twice in an open second half but we deserved all three points at the Pod Goricom, with our winning streak now gathering some real momentum.

My first full year of England Qualfiers is under my belt and I think I can be quietly confident of sealing the deal in 2013 and booking my ticket for sunny Brazil.


Man of the Match




A first England goal for Carrick, capped an impressive performance for the resurgent midfielder. The highly under rated work horse is finally coming to the fore front now and along side, Lampard and Gerrard in the middle, we've got ourselves one of the strongest midfields in the business.

Only trouble is, there not exactly young any more, the likes of Wilshere and Cleverley will need to make the step up soon.
 
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My final game of the year is easily the toughest of my England career so far, with a November tie against one of the hottest prospects in European football, the up and coming Belgium.


+
No Felliani, ruled out by a torn hamstring.

- Lampard and Gerrard both ruled out by injury, captaincy handed to Jagielka.

+ Liverpool's Raheem Sterling set to make England debut.

+ Wilshere handed first opportunity to try and make a claim for a starting place.





It had all the hallmarks of being a game that would bring us right back to reality with a bump, with many of our key players ruled out by injury and a Belgium side eager to prove their real contenders in International football.

After just sixteen minutes however we soon had the Belgians on the back foot as Vincent Kompany brought down Daniel Sturridge in the box and the ever impressive Leighton Baines tucked home the resulting spot kick to put us in control.

With a slender lead the game was a tense affair but we kept a rampant Belgian side at bay all the way until the Eighty Eighth minute when Chelsea's Eden Hazard crafted a sublime individual goal that deservedly brought the home side back into the game.

With a draw seemingly on the cards we would have been happy to settle but almost instantly from the restart, attacking midfielder James Milner picked up the ball thirty yards from goal and smashed home a low drive to steal the victory infront of a stunned crowd in the Stade Roi Baudouin.


Man of the Match.




Absolutely thrived with the weight of responsibility as England captain, Jagielka excelled whilst partnering Cahill in the middle of the defence, shutting down wave after wave of Belgian attacks, with only a bit of magic from Eden Hazard proving to be enough to beat the in form centre back.

John Terry who?
 
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Thanks Very much for all the comments guys, I really appreciate it!






So 2012 saw my time at England get off to a fine start. Unbeaten in all games and top of our qualification group for the World Cup. The new 4-5-1 formation has seen us take a more controlled and aggressive approach to our games and the midfield is finally living up to its potential, with Lampard and Gerrard finally finding a way of playing together.


+ Gerrard and Lampard both fit enough to start the match

+ Ashley Cole given opportunity ahead of Leighton Baines

+ Tom Cleverley given first start in an England shirt

- Stuart Pearce steps down as Under-21s manager to take charge of Fulham.




Once one of the toughest clubs in Europe, Romania have fallen from grace in recent years and as we arrived in Bucharest we were being treated as the clear favourites and within just sixteen minutes Ashley Young had sent us well on our way to living up to the medias hype, cutting in from the flank to tuck the ball home.

James Milner partnering Lampard in the middle of the field doubled our lead just before the break with a well taken goal from the edge of the area as we cruised into half time well in control of the game.

Romania rallied from the restart and started to put Joe Harts goal under some consistent pressure but just as they were about to make the break through a hopeful ball forward from Leighton Baines found Ashley Young in space and the rapid winger took full advantage to kill of the game with his second of the match.

With Romania now seemingly beaten, their morale was broken and our rapid wingers where quick to advantage when their heads dropped, with Lennon adding a fourth goal to the scoreline to put a gloss on the finish.


Man of the Match




A brace and an impressive performance from Young, as the Manchester United winger tore into Romania with his rapid pace making him a real handful on the break, not allowing the Romanian defence any rest throughout the entire game.
 
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World Cup Qualifier




With a friendly to start the year out of the way its back to business in the World Cup qualifiers and having passed the test against Ukraine, we face fellow chief contenders for a qualification spot, Poland in what's sure to be a tense affair in Warsaw.


+ Gary Neville Appointed Under-21s manager

+ Full strength squad available



Drama.

It was one **** of a game in front of a passionate crowd who were treated to a thrilling game of football.

James Milner starting his second game in a row, along side Lampard in the middle of the field opened the scoring with a well taken half volley following some strong work from Young down the wing, however we weren't allowed to rest on our slender lead as the Poles wasted no time in pegging us back with Polanski rising highest from a corner to beat Joe Hart.

The game was moving at a rampant pace and just ten minutes later, we once again reclaimed our lead as rapid winger, Theo Walcott made a darting run inside from the wing to smash home a stunning individual goal and send us in at half time with our noses in front.

Any attempts to try and control the game after the break were soon shelved when key Pole striker, Lewandowski finally made an impact when he capped a flowing Polish move with a drilled effort that dragged them back into the game.

It appeared the Poles were happy to settle for a point after the goal from the restart but as soon as they took their foot off the gas we struck again, this time with defender Phil Jagielka tucking home a well worked corner that sunk Polish hopes.

With half an hour of the game still remaining we dug deep to claim a hard earned victory and maintained our winning streak in the competition.

One giant step closer to Brazil



Man of the Match




Milner is in a fine spell of form for both club and country and along side Lampard, they're proving to be a very strong partnership at International level. With our place in the World Cup drawing ever closer, Milner is certainly making all the right moves to make sure he's one of the first names on the team sheet.




 
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Good idea. If you have the time to do it, it would be awesome if you could manage 3 or 4 top flight clubs in that time with the sole aim of promoting English talent in each one to improve the national team.
 
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World Cup Qualifier

Thanks very much Gentlemen

I toyed with the idea Sam but I've not really got a lot of time unfortunately and with 2014 coming soon, I figure a nice little challenge should keep me occupied until then.




​Ah San Marino, everyone's favourite whipping boys. Sat firmly rooted to the bottom of the table the tiny nation has had little to cheer about so far in the competition but welcoming The Three Lions to there national stadium gives the minnows the perfect chance to make a name for themselves before they wave goodbye to the Brazil.


+ England Under 19's qualify for the UEFA u-19s compeition.

+ Full strength squad still available

+ Its still ******* San Marino!




Erm...

Things didn't exactly go to plan.


Expecting to dominate proceedings, I sat back with my feet up waiting for the goal fest to begin but before I could even light my victory cigar, Captain Steven Gerrard decided to spice things up a little, lunging with two feet off the ground picking up a straight red card in the process.

No one will ever know what quite a semi professional footballer had done to deserve such treatment from one of Englands finest midfielders but non the less it changed the entire game as we struggled to adapt without our key player in the middle of the field.

With Rooney spraying shots into every corner of the stadium we went into half time having yet to open the flood gates.

It wasnt until the hour mark that we finally broke San Marinos defences with the in form Milner netting for the third time in as many games to save our blushes.

Any hopes that this might signal the start of the goal rush were soon dashed with the only other goal of the game coming from a soaring header from Jagielka to at least see us leave San Marino with a slightly less embarrassing goal difference.

Bring on Spain!



Man of the Match



Not exactly the best advertisement of footballing talent in England but atleast Jagielka managed to put in a solid performance once again. Having been drafted in to replace Terry, the Evertonian has made sure that the former skipper will not be missed.
 
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When i saw the Headline i thought the story would be about Hope Powell.
 
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haha...she's suffered enough





A disappointing victory over San Marino behind us its back to the friendlies, as we look to increase our experience against more further a field opposition with a match up against one of Africas finest, Morocco.



+ Still got a full strength first team, Indestructibles.

+ Gerrards not suspended.

- Suspension increased to three matches due to nature of the challenge.

+ Chamakhs upfront for Morrocco.






With the goals in short supply in the last game, we put on somewhat of a goalfest for the England faithful at Wembley with seven goals scored throughout the game.

It took just two minutes for Rooney to open the scoring with a tidy finish in the box, scoring his first goal since September and only the second goal from an England striker since I took over.

With an early lead in the bag it appeared that we were in for another fairly lifeless affair with only Wilshere able to add to the scoreline before the break, however the young midfielders goal came at the cost of Captain Steven Gerrard, the Liverpool captain being forced to come off through injury to add to his recent International woes.

With a comfortable two goal cushion the team came back out for the second half far more at ease and on the hour mark, the rapid pace of Walcott tore through the Moroccan defence to smash home a well taken individual goal.

With England now three goals to the good, the game then erupted into back and forth action, as Morocco threw caution into the wind scoring almost immediately from kick off before allowing young Wilfred Zaha to restore our three goal lead in 5 minutes of pure goalmouth action.

Morocco continued to keep up the frantic pace but Joe Hart proved to be more then a match for Chamakhs best efforts with a string of superb saves, before substitute Daniel Sturridge scored with his first touch of the game to put a convincing spin on the scoreline, however it was the Moroccans who were to have the last laugh picking up a late goal to reward their second half efforts just before the whistle.



Man of the Match





The Scoreline might have suggested it was our attacking players who would have taken the plaudits but goalkeeper Joe Hart was truly tested for the first time under my management and despite letting two goals slip past him, Manchester Citys stopper was in fine form.
 
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So the time is here, having had an easy time of it as England manager, the day has come that I will be truely tested and in some style as well, as we go toe to toe with the reigning World Champions in Valencia, its not going to be pretty but at least its only a friendly.


- Steven Gerrard ruled out by injury from the Morocco game.

+ Stuck to a more attacking formation, despite options of dropping Carrick into defensive midfield.

+ Fernando Torres doesnt make the grade.

- Every other Spanish player does.







Well it had to happen one day.​


We held off the best team in the world for all of forty five minutes, with a half of football that genuinely gave me a little bit of belief that we might actually have a shot of making it pretty far in the forth coming World Cup.​

Silva and Navas were causing our defence no end of problems but, Cahill and Jagielka once again appeared to be working well as a unit and soaked up the pressure for the entire first half, whilst our attacking based midfield battled away to try and make some headway but a Spanish team full of talent limited us to just one shot on target before the break.

With us clinging on to a slim chance of a victory, our hopes were almost immediatley dashed after the restart when our tight defence was finally unlocked by some neat work from Fabregas that finally saw Llorente test Joe Hart and the Juve front man made no mistake to put the Spaniards into a deserved lead. With the defences breached, we were looking shaky and the flowing football on display by a talent filled midfield once again proved to much to handle as Roberto Soldado was found in space following a fantastic through ball from Juan Mata to put the Spaniards two goals ahead.

With Spain now totally in control, it was backs to the walls for the final half an hour, Milner came off and Barry introduced into the defensive midfield role and we put on a solid defensive display that kept the scoreline from getting too embarrassing.

A convincing victory for Spain but some lessons definitely learnt.

If in doubt. Defend.





Man of the Match





Despite two goals slipping through our usually reliable back line, the stand out players were Cahill and Jagielka as they both coped with the Spanish onslaught for a full ninety minutes. The Chelsea stalwart proved to be more then capable of denying some of the best players in the world but despite his efforts two moments of outstanding skill proved to be enough to seal the victory.
 
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World Cup Qualifier



With the early year friendlies done and dusted and our winning record now ruined courtesy of Spain, its back to business in the World Cup qualifiers as we look to seal our place in the Brazilian World Cup with just four games remaining in the competition, first up, Mighty Moldova.


- Gerrards suspension now in place for three games.

- Wayne Rooney out with an injury

+ Once again...Its ******* Moldova!





Back on track.

It took Ashley Young just eight minutes to find the back of the net but for the remainder of the first half, we were left frustrated by a determined Moldova who performed admirably at the back, with Rooney's replacement, Daniel Sturridge unable to make a claim for a starting place failing to manage a single shot on goal before the break.

With a slender lead we came back out in the second half knowing we still had a job to do and once again it was Young who led the charge scoring almost immediately from kick off with a well taken half volley in the six yard box.

With the result now looking slightly more convincing we began to press home our advantage, Phil Jagielka continued to impress picking up another goal from a Leighton Baines corner, as the two Evertonians all but book their place on the team sheet in Brazil.

Theo Walcott rounded off a one sided second half with a goal ten minutes from time as our impressive midfield continues to show our strikers just how its done.

With three games remaining our place in the finals could be secured in the next game, against chasers Poland.




Man of the Match





One of the outstanding players since I've taken over the Three Lions, he is absolutely thriving in the attacking role down the wings and with Theo down the other side we have one of the fastest counter attacking midfields in the world right now. He is going to be crucial in Brazil​
 
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