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Page last updated at 20:14 GMT, Wednesday, 14 July 2010 21:14 UK

World Cup 2010: Where do England go from here?

Downcast England players

Highlights - Germany 4-1 England

Gary Lineker
By Gary Lineker
Former England captain and BBC Match of the Day presenter

After such a disappointing showing at the 2010 World Cup, England coach Fabio Capello has to decide which direction his side take next as they get ready to start their qualifying campaign for the 2012 European Championship.

Some coaches move on if they have had a poor time at a major tournament, but Capello probably does not want to be remembered for England's dismal showing in South Africa.

Instead, he will want to turn things around and ensure England reach Euro 2012, which is being co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.

Qualifying from a group that includes Switzerland, Bulgaria, Wales and Montenegro should be a straightforward task for England, although they face some tricky ties along the way.

We saw in South Africa that the Swiss are hard to beat - they even defeated eventual winners Spain - while Wales will be very motivated when they play England.

I would hope that Premier League clubs would try to help the national team in the way that the Bundesliga backed Klinsmann's ideas.

I would never have called for Capello's sacking after what happened in South Africa.

England underperformed but he is clearly a top-class manager.

What he has got to do is restore confidence in both the team and in himself - and do it quickly.

He must assess everything, especially preparations for the World Cup because his players did not look sharp.

Capello also has to reassess his tactics because the 4-4-2 formation he employed looked antiquated compared to other teams.

Like Alan Shearer, Lee Dixon and every other member of the BBC's World Cup panel, I thought England should be lining up differently.

That's not just speaking with hindsight either, because we all said it before the tournament began, not just after the disappointing draws against the United States and Algeria.

Even after improving and beating Slovenia 1-0 to reach the last 16, we all felt we might have big problems as soon as we faced a decent side. It proved the case when England were crushed 4-1 by Germany.

The Germans used Mesut Ozil in a free role between midfield and attack, which is exactly where I would have played Steven Gerrard.

They also played with two holding midfielders, just like most of the top sides in this World Cup, including Spain and the Netherlands.

England will probably cotton on to it in time for the next tournament, by which time their rivals will have moved on to something else.

I think tactics are the main issue for Capello. He has already spoken about rebuilding England and using younger players in the future but I am not sure we have enough coming through.


I am sure Theo Walcott will get another chance after being left out of the World Cup squad, while Jack Wilshire and Adam Johnson will probably get their opportunities at some stage.

But there is no point just axing everyone who performed badly in South Africa and bringing in youth.

If he does that, the likelihood is that some of them will either not be good enough or not ready yet. As a result, they will struggle, end up losing confidence and never appear for the national team again.

Capello will understand the pitfalls that face him. The key is picking the best players available and finding a system that works for them. I am sure he can get it right.

It was interesting hearing Jurgen Klinsmann's explanation of how he and Joachim Loew improved the fortunes of German football when they took charge of the national team in 2004.

I would hope that Premier League clubs would try to help the national team in the way that the Bundesliga backed Klinsmann's ideas.

But I think it is difficult to look long-term like the Germans did when England have got a foreign manager in charge.

For Capello, it is all about the next game, the next result and doing the best that he can while he is in charge because he knows he is not going to spend a lifetime in the job.

But there is something to be learned from Germany's approach.

At the moment, there are three bodies running English football - the Football Association, the Premier League and the Football League.

What we really need is everyone working together for the benefit of the game in this country and the development of young players.

Getting that right is all down to proper coaching from an early age. The fact that academies are now controlling the footballing education of our most promising youngsters is a good thing, too.

Some of the clubs - not all of them - are teaching kids the right way to play in terms of technique, possession and positioning. They are giving them a greater understanding of the game, too.

We might have to wait before the work benefits the senior set-up but starting with the very young is the way England must do it.

Hopefully - in eight years rather than four - we can be realistic contenders at a World Cup. Hopefully one being held in England, too!

Gary Lineker was talking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan

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see also
Beckham 'will not manage England'
14 Jul 10 |  Football
Cup flops England climb rankings
14 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
England slip to worst Cup ranking
13 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Capello to remain as England boss
02 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Mueller blames England imbalance
30 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Barwick baffled by dismal England
29 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010

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