“People keep talking about these players being world-class. They’re not.”
Over a decade ago, England were one of the favourites for the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Many predicted they would go far in the tournament in South Africa.
Ahead of the competition, Wayne Rooney was in the form of his life. The England striker netted 34 goals for Manchester United that season and was named PFA Player of the Year.
Frank Lampard and John Terry were key players for Chelsea as they won the double. Steven Gerrard was Liverpool captain and still in his prime as a player.
England’s disastrous 2010 World Cup.
England were also managed by Fabio Capello, one of the most successful and experienced coaches working in football at the time.
Capello had won multiple trophies with AC Milan, Real Madrid and Juventus and was tasked with leading England’s ‘golden generation’ to a trophy.
Yet, the campaign in South Africa turned into a disaster.
England recorded a draw with the United States in their opening game, an underwhelming 1-1 draw remembered for Rob Green’s unfortunate mistake that gifted America an equaliser.
Capello’s side then played out a grim 0-0 draw with Algeria before limping past Slovenia in a 1-0 win. They finished as runners-up in the group and a last-16 tie against Germany awaited.
Germany ran out easy winners, beating England 4-1. Lampard’s shot towards the end of the first half crossed the line but wasn’t awarded as a goal. However, Germany were clearly a class above their opponents.
Roy Keane on England’s World Cup exit.
Following England’s exit from the World Cup, Sky Sports News interviewed Roy Keane, who was then the manager of Championship side Ipswich Town.
Keane was asked why England’s players failed to replicate their club form at international level.
The former Man United captain, however, dismissed suggestions that England had world-class players, and he proceeded to go through the squad player by player rating them individually.
Only James Milner is given a pass by the former Ireland midfielder, who is critical of Gerrard, Terry, Emile Heskey and England’s goalkeepers.
You can watch the clip below.
(Originally published on March 10, 2021).