At the time it seemed to me that someone who hardly played and was the subject of much speculation about his ability to play more than three games before breaking down deserved some serious scrutiny before the job of England captain became his.
I also reiterated my belief that the job should have gone to Steven Gerrard three or four years ago, before his “drive and determination” were “blunted by age and disillusionment”. He was, of course, ignored in favour of defenders Terry and then Ferdinand.
There is some history behind this decision. Gerrard’s detractors claim he has never really performed for England since Germany were destroyed in Munich in 2001.
He was unlucky to miss out in 2002, and his nervously misplaced back pass during the 2004 European Championships led to France’s winning goal in a group game England should have won.
That said, he bounced back to score against Switzerland in the same tournament and was England’s top scorer in Germany in 2006 with two goals.
Gerrard contributed three goals in England’s successful World Cup qualification run, one in Belarus and two in the crushing 5 – 1 victory over Croatia.
Gerrard also has an excellent relationship with Wayne Rooney. Watching them bear down on defences is still an awesome sight.
Still, 16 goals from 80 caps seems a meagre haul for such a player. Perhaps that’s the problem now. So much talent, so little to show for it on the international stage.
Over to you, Stevie G.