David Beckham has been talking up England’s chances in Europe 2012, but you cannot take anything too seriously that comes from the old clothes horse. Beckham, like most ex-players, rarely says anything that isn’t cliché or jargon. He’s either out of touch or just trying to do an ambassadorial role for his old mates.
In some ways, Beckham’s ramblings can be compared to a passage from Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, in which Anthony Blanche finds the key character, Sebastian Flyte totally insipid:
“Tell me candidly, have you ever heard Sebastian say anything you have remembered for five minutes? ….. When dear Sebastian speaks it is like a little sphere of soapsuds drifting off the end of an old clay pipe, anywhere, full of rainbow light for a second and then – “phut! – vanished, with nothing left at all, nothing.”
Beckham is deluded, because when Roy Hodgson takes his depleted squad to Wembley, to face Belgium, we may just find out how weak the current England squad is.
Suddenly, everyone is bigging up Belgium and their “excellent” team. If they were that good, how come they finished third in their qualifying group? Have they become this “excellent team” since November last year? No, it’s all about managing expectations, everyone is now realizing that England have little hope of a successful tournament and may end up red-faced. Some people also assume that if Belgium have Eden Hazard, the young Belgian who has just cost Chelsea a transfer fee north of £30m, they must be good.
Belgium have not qualified for a major tournament for a decade, so their pedigree has been steadily declining for years. England ought to take note, because they may be heading for a similar experience.
Hodgson has been dealt a double blow in the past week with injuries to Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard. When Jordan Henderson becomes a key figure, you know things are in a bad way. The man of a thousand hair styles is very wrong, or perhaps he does not want to face facts. Beckham was a fine player, and by and large a good role model for youngsters, but his views and opinions have never carried any substance.