The time has come for England to show flexibility and strength to pick players on merit. With confirmation about the permanent manager post still awaited, things look ridiculously obscure for the Three Lions. May be England and the whole of Britain are more concerned about team GB in the Olympics. Well why shouldn’t they be? Of course London 2012 is the most important event of the year yet England provide the world with probably the most exciting football league in the world. Fans around the world get captivated by events revolving around the Barclays Premier League for almost ten months of a calendar year but things become bleak when the England national team take to the fields of an international tournament.
The build up to Euro 2012 has already been marred by events off the field rather than player performances. Wayne Rooney‘s two game suspension against France and Sweden, the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand racial abuse controversy, the subsequent stripping of the Chelsea man’s captain’s armband, the Fabio Capello resignation following the Terry issue and the anxious wait of the England fans to know their next team boss have turned the England preparation into a soap opera that has damaged the team’s chances of a major impact in Poland and the Ukraine.
Looking forward to the on field issues more than the off field ones, whoever gets appointed as the England manager permanently should not forget the season Norwich City‘s captain Grant Holt is having. England have a tendency of picking over rated players that do not deserve to wear the national jersey. But here is a player who reminds everyone of a determined old fashioned centre forward with a typical English heart who is ready to run all day long for the cause of his team. 31-year old Grant Holt is the ideal man to stand in for the suspended Wayne Rooney for the first two games atleast. His name is almost synonymous to Norwich’s rise from League One to the respected mid table of the Premier League within three years of the player’s signing from League Two side Shrewsbury Town. A player who has played in all the four divisions of the country with distinction should not be overlooked by any means particularly when Holt is in his early thirties and playing his best football. Playing for England at the highest level should not be a problem for a player as hardworking as Grant Holt and his 13 goals in the Premier League against all sorts of opposition should act as an eye opener for the next man in charge of the team.
Strong and tall, Holt is a near nuisance to any defence in the Premier League and in the words of his fellow forward Steve Morison if England overlook the Canaries captain it will be “an absolute disgrace”. Fair point. Another of his team mates Elliott Bennett pointed out,
“Fans love to moan after a tournament when England don’t do too well and say ‘you’re just taking the same old players’. If you’re talking about picking players on form, then why not (take him)? He’s the second highest English scorer in the Premier league, behind Wayne Rooney, why not take him? He’s definitely worth a shot, different players have had one and he deserves one.”
No one can replace Wayne Rooney in the current set up and as a matter of fact the Manchester United front man is irreplaceable but in Grant Holt there is someone who can stand up to the England cause and make him known to the opposition he is there to be checked or he will run away with the game. In fact options are limited for Stuart Pearce or whoever it is and going by current form Grant Holt is the best bet to lead the attack against France and Sweden. Good in the air with a massive physical presence the player has a knack of being at the right place at the right time and he can also be an asset in defence when required particularly during set pieces. Norwich manager Paul Lambert is probably one of the best managers in the country and for sure would be a prime target for the Tottenham job if Harry Redknapp is given the England job and the man who turned the fortunes of a lowly League One side into a Premier League hot shot in three years has unearthed a massive talent in Holt who has all the makings of a top England international albeit at the age of 31.
Despite being the second highest English scorer in the league after Wayne Rooney with 13 goals a ticket to Poland and the Ukraine is not guaranteed for the former Nottingham Forest and Shrewsbury Town striker. The player himself insists that he is doing all he can to earn a dream call up to the national team but sometimes players do not get picked on form. In an interview to sky the six feet tall striker was quoted as saying,
“If it goes on form and goals (then maybe). People keep chucking stats at me but the only statistic that matters is if the manager that comes in picks me. It is only decided by one person and at the moment we don’t know who is getting the job. I’ll definitely take the opportunity up if someone picks me. I would love to do it and I’d do my very best.”
Despite being happy with his form and relishing the moment Holt is not getting ahead of himself as there was a note of caution in his words about the chances of getting picked for Euro 2012. The burly striker rightly pointed out, “If I don’t get picked it’s probably going to be because I’m not good enough but it doesn’t always go on stats. I have seen a lot of players get call-ups who shouldn’t, and a lot who should but don’t get picked.”
A great pointer to the England national team football management. No matter what happens Grant Holt has done all he could to earn a deserved call up for the Euros and no one at the moment could think of an England team bound for the east sans Grant Holt.