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View Full Version : Good article from today's Indy on Jamie Carragher



Len Ganley Stance
07-08-2007, 19:47
James Lawton: Carragher's refusal to return based on bitter experience of England star system

In a perfect world the chances are Jamie Carragher would go back, at least for a few matches, on his decision to end his England career. He would, you have to believe, be able to see the need, not so much for himself, and certainly not for some ego-massaging accumulation of caps, but for the country whose shirt he wore 34 times, and with never less than rampaging commitment.

Unfortunately, the world of England's international football is not only less than perfect, it is too often less than merely competent. It operates a star system that would have given Hollywood an even worse name than it has; it makes one rule for the glory boys, who know who they are even more than we do, and one for the others, the foot soldiers, the guys who do what they are asked, when they are asked, and then slip away into the margins.

Jamie Carragher, who with injuries to most of his rivals has rarely been needed so urgently by his country, has never been one of the glory boys. He never tried to doctor the adenoidal ferocity of his Bootle accent, never slaved to get himself in the picture, except when a sharp-eyed cameraman picked up, as he did, on a moment of acute danger in the defensive lines of Liverpool or England.

Like a few who spring to mind across the generations, starting with Nobby Stiles through the likes of Tommy Smith and Ian Callaghan, Norman Hunter, Peter Beardsley, Bryan Robson, and Paul Scholes, the player whose earlier departure from the international scene still leaves a gaping hole in England's midfield, Carragher has always been a footballer's footballer. The celebrity culture might have been proceeding on another planet.

When, smarting under the final cut in the spring, his exclusion from the European qualifier against Estonia to make way for both Ledley King and Wes Brown, he said that it was time to concentrate on club football, he was accused, from the shot and shell of a broadcasting booth, of being a "bottler", a pro not willing to fight for his place. Carragher, arguably the most implacable pure defender of his generation, eventually stifled his rage and said, "I've committed 12 years of my career to England, but I've been thinking now is the time to concentrate 100 per cent on Liverpool.

"I'm 29 now and I have to accept if I'm not a regular starter at this stage of my England career, I don't think I'll ever be. It's going to be difficult for me to be seen as anything more than a squad player, and that's not what I'm interested in now."

Comparisons may be invidious but at least one is unavoidable. It is with the decision-making of Carragher's former England captain David Beckham, who, while electing to take the huge and easy money of the third-rate American Major League Soccer, insists that he cannot bear to surrender his place in the England team at least until he acquires 100 caps which would draw him, outlandishly some rigorous critics would say, into the company of titans like Bobby Moore and Sir Bobby Charlton.

In response, the England coach Steve McClaren, who is now required to go on bended knee to a Carragher he had earlier convinced was one of the team's most disposable assets, suggests he is willing to fly to America in order monitor Beckham's "progress" over there.

The implication cannot be missed. Beckham, even after he handed back the England captaincy unbidden in the wake of another World Cup disaster, is still able to snap his fingers and get the appropriate response from the England hierarchy a situation that was enshrined almost from the moment Sven Goran Eriksson took office.

It has never been remotely like that for England soldiers like Scholes and Carragher. Scholes had to fit in with the requirements of team-mates like Beckham, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard whatever the evidence he provided that, in the matter of shaping a game, and understanding the subtleties of playmaking, he operated in a different and distinctly superior street.

Part of Carragher's frustration, no doubt, is that he knows that, in purely technical terms, he is roughly twice as reliable as the first name consistently down in England's defensive list, Rio Ferdinand. When Ferdinand's partner, John Terry, was injured, Carragher, who has been asked to play at full-back, central defence and as a holding midfielder, assumed that he would walk into the team in his best position. He should have known better. Following one game he was dropped after starting as a holding midfielder an astonishing abberation before filling in for the injured Gary Neville at right-back. Falling behind King and Jonathan Woodgate was, he believed, the point of no return.

It was an entirely rational decision, one made without anything like the same kind of provocation and at around the same age, by Alan Shearer, who is of course widely revered as one of the ultimate professionals.

This is a status Carragher has also won for himself, at least in the mind of a defender who happens to be one of only nine living Englishmen who know what it takes to win a World Cup. George Cohen says of the Liverpool man: "For so long, Carragher has for me been the outstanding England defender.

"OK, he's not flashy on the ball, anything but in fact, but as a defender he has brilliant understanding of what he has to do. He reads situations so well, his timing is great and if you are under the cosh you couldn't get anyone more reliable.

"Sometimes I look at big-name players like Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole and I ask my wife, on the off chance that she is listening, 'Has anyone ever taught these lads to defend, really defend?' But then I never ask that question of Jamie Carragher. Some things you can't teach a defender. It is pure instinct and Carragher has that."

But does he have forbearance? Does he have the grace to remember the pride he felt when he first played for England, when he still believed that, if you did your stuff, you got your reward? The hunch here was that he does, though that was before the word coming out of Merseyside last night was not so encouraging. Patriots will no doubt say that answering his country's call is the least to be expected from a hugely rewarded footballer, but it is maybe not quite as simple as that. Certainly Steve McClaren should be the last man to pretend that it is.

Judge
07-08-2007, 20:03
Good read was that.To be honest i don't know what all the fuss is about.Carra wasn't in Sven's 11 and McLaren's 11,he's been messed about from day one,always overlooked and when King got the nod for the Estonia game that made Carra think.When Scholes hung up his boots nothing was really said and the same with Shearer,these two players had more to offer the national team . Carr's done the right thing,club over country.

Judge
07-08-2007, 20:19
Here's the results of a vote put to Liverpool fans about Carra and England.

Liverpool fans believe Jamie Carragher should quit playing international football for England, according to the result of our recent site poll.

After being continually overlooked for a regular place in the England team by consecutive managers, Carra recently revealed that he is strongly considering retirng from international football to concentrate on his club career.

In our recent site poll we asked our visitors, should Carra quit on England? And the final result was;

Yes 81%
No 15%
Not Sure 4%

Len Ganley Stance
07-08-2007, 20:55
Good read was that.To be honest i don't know what all the fuss is about.Carra wasn't in Sven's 11 and McLaren's 11,he's been messed about from day one,always overlooked and when King got the nod for the Estonia game that made Carra think.When Scholes hung up his boots nothing was really said and the same with Shearer,these two players had more to offer the national team . Carr's done the right thing,club over country.

He probably has done the right thing. It's certainly the right thing as far as Liverpool are concerned.

I think that the reason Rio gets selected alongside Terry instead of Carragher is that Terry and Carragher are pretty similar type defenders. They're not exactly the quickest CB's about and if they're facing a team who plays one or two fast, mobile strikers then they could have problems. Rio has a bit of pace but as everyone knows is prone to appaling lapses in concentration. Ledley King also is pacy but I think makes a better defensive midfield player than a centre back. Tottenham leak goals when King is injured but they seem to leak as many when he's playing.

Carragher's versatility probably doesn't help him either in that he has been played out of position a lot of the time for England and in one game (can't remember who it was against) I seem to remember him playing as a left wing back. A wing back he certainly isn't. The poor chap gets nose bleeds when he crosses the halfway line.

It's a bit like the situation with Owen Hargreaves, who has always been much maligned when playing for England. He's rarely started a game in his 'natural' position, which is holding the midfield, partnering a midfield playmaker. That's where Fergie will play him and he should do well playing alongside Scholes or Carrick. We'll see. I have to say, I never really rated Hargreaves until the last World Cup, where he was arguably England's most consistent player. That was once he got into the side and it has to be said that the competition for most consistent player was very poor.

The comparison with Scholes is pretty much spot on. Sven consistently played Scholes out of position just to accomodate other players, when in fact Scholes was one of the few players that could change a game for England. Ok, we all know that he can't tackle but his range of passing and his vision (even when it was blurred) are exceptional.

I don't particularly like James Lawton who wrote the article but apart from the rather predictable pop at David Beckham, it was a good piece. My opinion on Becks is that he still deserves his place on the right hand side as those who seem to be the preferred next choices for the position - Aaron Lennon and SWP aren't up to the job. Lennon may be in the next year or so but I really don't think that SWP ever will be. Unless that is he goes to a team where he gets regular first team football. If I was McClaren I'd play David Bentley on the right hand side and not Lennon / SWP or Becks.

Judge
07-08-2007, 22:09
It's got nothing to do with me being a Liverpool fan but Carra is a better defender than Rio.Rio isn't the quickest defender around and for sure he isn't much quicker than Carra.Carra's played all the way to two champions league finals and won one ,and has come up against the best defenders in the CL and handled every player who he's faced,ok the through ball from Kaka 2 years ago was a blip,but that was one of the best through balls i've ever seen.The reason why Rio gets picked is because he's a Utd player and Mclaren favours UTD ,being a ex manc himself.

Making it to two CL final in 3 years isn't easy,teams like bafalona,Milan,Real,have all found ways through English teams because of their bad defending,Carra holds the Liverpool back line together.
Here's the Kaka pass..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNM2IKVy0gs

This sums up Carra well.

''Jamie Carragher is the supporting actor who keeps stealing the film. And yet the Academy refuses to acknowledge him in an appropriate fashion. No matter how many times Carragher defies the world's greatest attackers, the praise he receives remains resolutely patronising and faint - as if the only reason he excels is because Liverpool's defensive nature means he is given a showy role as the backs-to-the-wall hero.

If it was that easy, everybody would be doing it. All evidence gathered over the last three seasons of the Champions League, football's most relevant genre, suggests that Carragher is a defender of the truest substance. Paradoxically, he is one of the best defenders in Europe and yet only the fourth-best in England, behind John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Jonathan Woodgate (or, before him, Sol Campbell). Carragher has always lurked in the shadow of Terry, apparently the Stuart MacGill to his Shane Warne; even in 2005, when he inspired Liverpool to the Champions League, it was Terry who was won Uefa's Best Defender award. Yet his performances against the very best sides have been of a consistently higher standard.

Terry was poor at Euro 2004, modest at last year's World Cup and, while Carragher is neither in credit or debit internationally due to lack of exposure, his performances have been more three-dimensional, more sentient, in Europe: Terry, so happy taking up his position at the front post and heading balls away all day in the Premiership, has been given the runaround on more than one occasion, particularly by Barcelona, and even famously lost a battle of strength with Ronaldinho at the Nou Camp in Chelsea's aggregate defeat a year ago.

Last night, Carragher won the battle of strength - physical and mental - so emphatically that he had broken the will of the world's best attacking unit inside the game's first quarter. He does not have pace, but then nor does Terry, and his combination of sixth sense (there is a reason he makes so many last-ditch challenges, and it's not only because he's slow), psychological resolution, furious concentration acute tactical awareness and - yes - backs-to-the-wall heroism make him a truly formidable opponent.

Indeed, given the concentration lapses which continue to compromise the superior talents of Rio Ferdinand, there is an increasingly compelling argument that, at the very, very highest level, Carragher might just be the best English defender around. But the cognoscenti - and the England management - are unlikely to ever recognise him as such.''

kste22
08-08-2007, 10:00
That was a good and interesting read!

Carra everyone says is a victim of his own versatility! I personally dont agree with this, as a holding midfielder, roles which he has occupied maybe once or twice ever in his Liverpool career he certainly is not as effective as the tried and tested 'holding midfielder' Carrick, Gerard, Hargreaves, King, Parker can all play in the centre and would be more effective than Carra! At full back he's defensively sound, although has lack of pace sometimes shows a weakness in this position,and as always when playing full back in the Houlier years going over the half way line was a no go!

The real problem is that people don't like to admit that Carra is just as good if not better than Rio(i forgot) Ferdinand and Terry! But no we can't say this as these two are the golden boy defenders of english football! Over the years of watching Carra as centre half for Liverpool i would not swap him for anyone, and with John Terry's persitant injury problem's why not put Carra in! Again one simple underlying truth Steve Mclaren as with Sven does not like him as he is not glamorous to watch or easy on the eye!

Champions league final 2005 with cramp makes a game saving tackle, 1 min later still will terrible cramp makes another game saving tackle, moments which inspired the team and the fans, times which made us know it was our night!

People need more of these chracters in the side not sqaud, but needless to say if your face dont fit! Tought shit!