Ian Holloway: England's boo boys must shut their mouths

Blackpool manager's unique take on the world
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The Independent Online

Everyone seems to want to sit around criticising Fabio Capello and England but you won't catch me doing that. Blackpool fans know I always harp on about how important it is to support their club, and it is no different with the national side.

I never earned Three Lions on my chest as a player, haven't earned them in my management career, but I want them to do well so much it hurts. At the moment we are giving the ball away and making bad choices. But I don't care. We haven't lost yet and the draw with Algeria will be a good result if we win against Slovenia on Wednesday.

Capello will get stick because that's what we do in this country but does a 0-0 draw make him a bad manager? Of course it doesn't. If England fans booed, they should shut their mouths.

I was as frustrated as anyone that we didn't win. But I am still proud of my lads and the effort they are putting in. They kept going, kept a decent shape and never looked like conceding a goal.

What I didn't like was the fear I saw. But when you've got fear in a team the last thing you do is criticise them. We have good players. But they are having to adapt and play in a way Mr Capello wants them to, slightly different to how they do it at their clubs.

I personally don't like 4-4-2. I think 4-3-3 is a much better system. If I'd have tried to play 4-4-2 at Blackpool last season we'd have been mullered.

Sometimes as a manager you have to look at what you are doing and say is it right, should I change, are we too predictable? And maybe we need to be a little bit more flexible. Maybe we need to throw caution to the wind. The American manager changed his team shape against Slovenia and it worked a treat. But who am I to tell Mr Capello, with all his wonderful experience, what to do? Would I have won what he did at Real Madrid? I don't think I would, so I've got to hush a bit.

The problem in our country is we are far too presumptuous about what we are going to do. People have been talking about us being good enough to win the World Cup for months, but we have to earn that right.

Were Blackpool good enough to go up to the Premier League? Erm, yes at the end. But I never said it beforehand because I didn't know.

England are not playing as they were a few months ago, but this is what happens to teams. If you think about it logically a qualifying campaign and the actual World Cup itself is like a season.

Blackpool hit the play-offs on a good run, our best run of the season, and we won it. Would we have won the play-offs four months earlier? I don't think so. England were so good a few months ago and all of a sudden everything went a bit wrong. John Terry lost the captaincy, Gareth Barry and Wayne Rooney got injured, so did Rio Ferdinand.

You've also got to take into account that the players we are up against play all around the world in the highest divisions. They are no mugs. England remain a scalp in world football – I'm not sure why – and teams defend against them and are very hard to break down.

So we are all a bit disappointed at the result, but look at Spain. They are one of the best teams in the world and they completed 590-odd passes against Switzerland, which is unbelievable. But they couldn't score, and then they went and let an absolutely terrible goal in. We didn't do that. We got another point.

Five points will be enough. Fact. End of story. So let's encourage the lads to go and do it, not crucify them.

Dangerous to write off a genius like Rooney

Wayne Rooney is a world-class player, I don't care what anybody says. On the left, down the right, up the middle... I don't care where he plays, I love watching him and I believe he is going to score at any moment. He has brilliant awareness and skill. At the minute it isn't going quite right for him. But is he one of the best players in the world? Yes of course he is. He has had some injuries and they have affected his preparation, so he is not on fire like he was a few months ago.

Is he playing a different system? Yes. Does it affect him? Yes. But England supporters need to remember that the lad is class, a genius, and I want to tell him that. I love him wherever he plays and he is absolutely key to England's chances.

Time for cocky Kaiser to pop back on his perch

Who is cocky Franz Beckenbauer to start giving it all this about England being a long-ball team? You want to have a look at your own side mate because you got stuffed against Serbia, so unlucky.

I think just because Germany won their first game, Beckenbauer got a bit loud and came out of his cage. But he can pipe down a bit now and get back on his perch!

Who the hell do you think you are to have a go at us? Worry about your own team because you aren't that good. Lukas Podolski, how many did he miss? So shut up and mind your own business.

Early sparring is dull but I can't wait for knockout

The World Cup has been a bit of an anti-climax so far. But then again it always is at this stage. Everybody is too cautious and too worried about losing a game so there are far too many draws.

Thankfully it is about to change because when you get to the third round of games it actually means something, and I can't wait.

When we get to the knockout stage it will get even better because at that point everything matters and teams need to win. Nerves will go out of the window, everyone will be going for it, and away we go – it will hopefully become a great tournament.

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