Charlton 0 Everton 0: Curbishley defends England credentials after Valley stalemate

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Yet if the way his team goes about picking up points - basically grinding out results and boring the pants off everyone - was also a factor in him succeeding Sven Goran Eriksson, Curbishley may not be everyone's cup of tea.

Saturday's dreadful stalemate at The Valley was Charlton's sixth goalless draw in nine games though Everton hardly contributed much either as their manager, David Moyes, admitted. He suggested the best way for spectators to forget the game was to "get a good drink" down them.

Entertainment and chances were at a premium, certainly not the kind of style ever-demanding England fans would tolerate. Curbishley's response was to take a horses-for-courses approach, pledging he would revert to a far more expansive way of playing if he was lucky enough to get the national job.

Charlton's needs, he insisted, are for Charlton. Back in the New Year, he made a conscious decision to sacrifice excitement for pragmatism because his side were shipping too many goals. Managing England would bring about a different set of circumstances, however.

"You're talking about a different set of rules - a different make-up completely," Curbishley said. "I'm at a football club where the main priority is to stay in the Premiership. If you care to look at what's happened to eight or nine clubs that were in the Premiership five years ago, they've gone, perhaps never to be seen again.

"I have a responsibility for that. Running a league team is totally different to running the national side. Any mid-table team, or below, has a lot to do against a superior side. I don't think there are many superior teams out there where England would have to adopt damage limitation. People are on this apparent England short-list for what we've done at our clubs. It's a different job altogether."

After 15 years at one club, he has gone on record as saying that he will sit down and "have a good think" in the summer about his next move, whether or not he ends up at Soho Square. For all that, Curbishley, a man of immense integrity, is at pains not to talk too much more about England for fear of taking his eye off the job at hand - in particular Wednesday's FA Cup quarter-final at Middlesbrough when the Addicks will recall 20-goal Darren Bent, rested on Saturday, as they bid to reach the last four for the first time in 59 years.

"Since Sven decided he was going to leave, all the speculation has been going on for two or three months but we've all got responsibilities to our clubs," Curbishley said. "We are still on course for getting our best points total ever. If we could do that and get to the semi-final of the cup, this could be my best ever season. So I don't need the distractions."

Charlton Athletic (4-4-2): Myhre; Spector, Perry, Sorondo, Hreidarsson; Kishishev (Rommedahl, 65), Holland, Euell, Thomas (Ambrose, 78); Marcus Bent, Bothroyd (Bartlett, 65). Substitutes not used: Andersen (gk), Sankofa.

Everton (4-4-2): Wright; Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Neville; Osman (Davies, 84), Carsley, Cahill, Arteta; Beattie (Ferguson, 80), McFadden. Substitutes not used: Turner (gk), Naysmith, Weir.

Referee: P Walton (Northamptonshire).

Booked: Hibbert, McFadden.

Man of the match: Yobo.

Attendance: 26,954.