England too scared to perform claims Craig Bellamy
Tuesday 22 March 2011
Wales striker Craig Bellamy believes the pressure placed on England's players has left them scared stiff and unable to perform to their potential on the international stage.
England's performances at last summer's World Cup drew much criticism after they crashed out to a young and largely unheralded Germany side in the last 16.
Bellamy is preparing to face England in a Euro 2012 qualifier in Cardiff this weekend and has stoked the fires ahead of the game by claiming the intense media spotlight on Wales' cross-border rivals has prevented them from producing their best.
"Before the World Cup you had certain players being lined up to be knighted," Bellamy told the Daily Mail.
"You're going into it with the best centre-half in the world, the best centre-forward in the world.
"But tournaments don't work out like that. Germany were brilliant because they went with a group of players who were given freedom.
"England just looked - because so much was expected of them - tense, so tense.
"At the World Cup it was just too rigid. I thought they got broken in between the lines. It just didn't look right."
But Bellamy believes it is not just at showpiece tournaments that the pressure gets to England's players, but also in lower-profile matches.
"Are England players scared? I remember Steven Gerrard, before playing Andorra, saying he didn't want to give the ball away because he was afraid of the boos," he added.
"That's Steven Gerrard, one of the greatest players in the world over the past 10 years. He felt that, so imagine that environment?
"You look at the players, they got to Champions League finals. Do the players want it? Of course they do, they don't play for England for money."
Latest in Sport
Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Compare the Barcelona and Real Madrid players in El Clasico
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo
Tim Sherwood: The mavericks have always needed special handling – but Balotelli is not delivering his side of the bargain for Liverpool
Manchester United vs Chelsea: Modesty of Louis van Gaal makes nice contrast with his old pupil Jose Mourinho
Real Madrid analysis: Toni Kroos control may give extra edge that enables Real Madrid to retain Champions League crown
- 1 Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
- 2 McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 4 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 5 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands