'England need major overhaul'

England's midfielder and captain Steven Gerrard (front) and England's forward Wayne Rooney (R) are consoled by Uruguay's forward Luis Suarez after defeat in the Group D football match between Uruguay and England

It was England's worst World Cup Finals showing in half a century.

Former England and Arsenal defender Sol Campbell pulled no punches as he described the Three Lions' performance at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as "absolutely awful".

England were knocked out in the group stage after collecting just one point from three games, losing to both Italy and Uruguay 2-1 before drawing 0-0 with Costa Rica.


The last time the English were eliminated in the first round on the world stage was in 1958, when they drew three and lost one of the four games.

A major overhaul is needed in the English Football Association (FA), said Campbell, 39, who was in town yesterday to help launch Arsenal's new kit for the 2014/2015 season at the Puma ION Orchard store.

"England's poor showing was down to the system they deployed on the pitch," he said.

"It wasn't their defence, and it wasn't because they were a young team.

"Their (playing) system didn't help the various deficiencies in the team, and nothing ever changed throughout the tournament.

"Look at Argentina. When they lost key players in attack, they focused on defence and played smart by playing on the counter. England never altered the way they played, even when they needed to.

"The most disappointing thing about England's performance was that they never once controlled a game, even for 10 minutes.

"They played well in patches, moved from defence to attack and created chances, but they never once slowed the tempo or tired the opponents."

Campbell, who skippered England in three of his 73 caps, became the first player to represent his country at six consecutive international tournaments.

He featured in three World Cups and three European Championships between 1996 and 2006.

A strong centre back in his day, the 1.89m Campbell said England's failure in Brazil is down to the coaches and administrators rather than the players.

He gave the thumbs up to the current centre-back pairing of Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka, and said that an overhaul in the English FA is much needed now.

"When you look at the fact that England got just one point at the World Cup, it's quite clear we have regressed on the pitch," said the former Tottenham, Arsenal and Portsmouth player.

"I'm just surprised that there hasn't been much debate going on back home. No one is asking what's going on.

"The FA needs to assess who's doing what and what needs to be changed. Some of the current coaches have to go, absolutely."


The right people will determine whether England can return to its "big team" status in world football, added Campbell, who was part of the England team that reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 2002 and 2006 and the European Championships 2004.

"When I played for England, we were nearly there," said Campbell, who won the EPL title in 2002 and 2004.

"It's not just the coaches, of course, we also need players with the right mentality; players who don't think they've made it just because they're wearing the England shirt.

"I've always believed that you should never stop achieving until the day you retire."

This article was first published on July 12, 2014. Get The New Paper for more stories.