This has been a worse start than ‘86 or ’90

Trevor Steven
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ENGLAND’S mutiny may have been nipped in the bud but John Terry was totally ill-advised to tell the world about any rumblings of discontent in the England squad. Those issues should be dealt with internally. By opening them up to the public Terry risked driving a bigger wedge between the players and Fabio Capello.

It is bad for the team and it will not have done any favours to a man who was stripped of the captaincy just a few months ago.

But my bigger worry is that Terry felt he had to speak out through the media as a last resort, perhaps because players have been unable to voice opinions in the camp.

The England squad look bored and in desperate need of some bonding. It seems as if they are remote, kept in their own rooms.

Bonding is a vital ingredient for success in any job. The players should be sharing social activities as well as work ones.

My hope is that Capello is loosening up because he needs to get them all singing from the same hymn-sheet.

The Italian now needs to be friendlier, open and honest, and has to ensure that they are able to say how they feel without it getting uncomfortable. I also hope that the players are talking about things, having a beer and doing things like going for walks together.

That will all go a long way, but tactical changes are also a must. Whether Capello makes them or not, I simply haven’t a clue.

England are in a similar situation to the squad I was part of in 1986, when we lost and drew our first two games, meaning we had to win to go through.

Sir Bobby Robson, the manager, made wholesale changes and they paid off: we beat Paraguay 3-0.

We also had a poor start to the 1990 World Cup, but I think this time around England’s performances have been poorer than at both of those tournaments.

This really is as low as they could feel and I just worry that Capello has already played all his aces. He made a huge error not taking Adam Johnson to the tournament, while the idea of playing another striker alongside Wayne Rooney is fantasy.

There is no room for that – he and Emile Heskey are getting in each other’s way – and the system is restricting him.

All his performances as a lone forward for Manchester United have been great – he
should be given the chance to do that for England.

The manager has to play his men in their best positions, and he hasn’t done that, so there
is criticism for him. But there is also criticism of the players, because they have not done the basics well.