It’s only to be expected in these circumstances that people should suggest recalling Beckham to the team. And only natural that the name of Theo Walcott should, as they say, “enter the frame” given his recent performances for the England Under-21 team and for Arsenal.
Brian Clough once wrote:
Football management can be a torment, even to those who are deservedly regarded as the best. All it takes is a difficult spell, a poor run of results, a lousy season and sometimes you don’t know which door to walk through, who to shout at or clout, which pen to pick up, which bell to push, which player to pick, which telephone to answer. Panic.
For those of us who felt Erickson hard used by the English – not just the press – and by the wheel of fortune – watching gravity’s natural draw pull matters back to his point of view feels like.. I spent fifteen minutes yesterday afternoon staring into the air, unable to remember the word.. vindication.
Beckham won’t be recalled. His dropping came via an unpleasant mix of gesture politics, a genuine desire to break from the past in whatever way could be found, and footballing reasons, however imperfect those reasons were. (Pace is good in a team, but pace without product is no better than no pace but goals and assists at World Cup tournaments.) Recalling him would be tantamount to resignation on McClaren’s part.
Walcott is another thing entirely. Used by McClaren as a rod for Sven’s back, one can only hope that if he is brought into the squad, it’s not to prove another point.