Liverpool target Joe Allen Is Worth £15m And The 10 Things The Olympic Football Experiment Taught Us
Knocked out in the quarterfinals of a major tournament on penalties, where have we seen that before? The medal hopes of both the Men’s and Women’s Great Britain football teams may be over, but that doesn’t mean the Olympic experiment was a complete waste of time. Here are 10 things that we’ve learnt from the tournament; some of them are new, some of them are things we knew before but have been reaffirmed, and at least one of them is about penalties.
Stuart Pearce isn’t an international level manager
Odd squad selection, strange tactical changes and failure to progress to medal winning stages of the competition has only confirmed what we feared before. If the FA are grooming Stuart Pearce to be a future England manager, their wasting their time, he just isn’t good enough. Average at Manchester City, inconsistent with the Under-21’s, all roads point to a slightly more likeable Steve McClaren.
No matter the nations involved, we still can’t take penalties
'Englishman’s poor penalty costs nation qualification'. It was inevitable. You shouldn’t stutter your run up to a penalty normally, but the fifth penalty of a shoot-out telegraphing where your shooting just isn’t good enough. If Daniel Sturridge felt ill before the tournament, I imagine it was nothing compared to the sinking feeling in his stomach after missing that penalty.
Neglecting to take Beckham was a mistake
David Beckham was an ambassador for these games, and is currently enjoying the best vain of form he’s had in many a season. Always a man for the big occasion, his mere presence even on the bench would have lifted the young players around him as much as the fans in the stadium. He’s a one-man attraction and still a fantastic footballer; if you want to maximise crowd figures and shirt sales without damaging the quality of your football team, David Beckham is your man.
Joe Allen may actually be worth £15m
He’s looked calm, passed well and partnered whoever he’s had in midfield with him to great effect. The challenge for Joe Allen was to show that he could perform away from the comfort of the Swansea side, and help justify the club names apparently interested and prices their willing to pay. If Liverpool manage to sign him for around £15m this summer, it’ll be a damnsight better bit of business than Jordan Henderson was for £20m.
Jack Butland could progress to challenge Joe Hart
He made many important saves this tournament, and didn’t look nervous or shaky when it mattered. (with the exception being Korea's goal) His back four had confidence in him, and that type of praise can’t be valued highly enough for a goalkeeper. He was a surprise inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s European Championships squad, but I fully expect to see him in the next squad too. Expect bigger clubs than Birmingham to be coming after this boy, but perhaps another season in the Championship might do him some good.
There’s a future in women’s Olympic football
75,000 people went to cheer on the Great Britain women’s football team at Wembley, and they welcomed that with a brilliant performance. Women’s football is one of the fast growing sports in the world, and the quality of it is only benefiting from that. Some of the games have been of a higher class than the men’s and the passion involved is comparable too. The manager of team GB has already said she wishes to take a squad to the next games in Rio, and without the politics involved in the men’s game, she may well have the chance to do so.
Steven Caulker deserves his chance at Tottenham
A constant rock at the back for the team, Steven Caulker didn’t look any younger or any less experienced than Micah Richards during this tournament. Another season on loan last year at Swansea did the young Spurs central defender the world of good, Premier League experience proving invaluable. Hopefully part of Andre Villas-Boas’s plan’s for the coming season, there’s a spare 26 shirt going at Tottenham, and Steven Caulker might just have his name on it.
This was definitely only a one off
There’s not a chance that this team will assemble again for the next games in four years time, the politics involved just wouldn’t allow it. A home games that everyone wanted to partake in was only just green lit, some players directly contradicting the rhetoric of their FA’s in order to make themselves available for selection. But I doubt their parent clubs will much like the idea of them playing abroad without for Team GB in the future either.
England aren’t going to win the 2014 World Cup
Some nations, like Brazil for example, don’t take the Olympics lightly. They see the tournament as not only a chance to win gold, but as an opportunity to road test their possible squad for the World Cup in two years time. We, however, don’t. The percentage of players that go on to represent their nations at the next major tournament will be nothing compared to the South-American sides, and even the players that may appear require vast improvement to their all around game to make any sort of challenge. We knew we didn’t have any chance in the climates of Rio 2014 before these Olympics, but the lack of inspiration from our next generation of players has all but confirmed it.
Ryan Giggs could still do a job for Wales
He’s adjusted his game so much with age, that his experience and ability now in the centre of the park may be invaluable for a squad likes Wales. Moving inside has given him chance to have more time on the ball, giving him the opportunity to dictate the pace of the game and create, much like he does now for Manchester United, and I’m sure he has Sir Alex to thank for that. He may not be as lightening quick as he once was, but he’s still far from slow, his ability on the ball, temperament off it, and experience in the dressing room is incredible. I’m not sure osmosis can transfer a winning mentality, but it’s certainly worth a try.
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