Wednesday, 10 January 2001 - The Football Association announced England will play
a friendly match against The Netherlands at White Hart Lane, home of Tottenham Hotspur, on
The fixture was made after consultation with England's new coach, Sven-Göran Eriksson, who is expected to
take charge soon following his resignation from SS Lazio in Italy, and acting part-time manager Peter Taylor, who will serve at least temporarily on Eriksson's staff.
The Holland match, the first England have ever played in August, was scheduled as preparation for the World Cup qualification match against
Germany in Munich on 1 September. It will be the fifth time White Hart Lane has hosted an England
international, the last coming on 30 November 1949, when Italy were beaten 2-0 in a friendly match.
For The Netherlands, the fixture serves as a preparation for the critical 1 September World Cup
qualification match against the Republic of Ireland. England will play a
return match in Holland in February 2002 as both teams, should they have
qualified, prepare for the World Cup final tournament.
The August fixture, which comes just after the new Premiership season opens, undoubtedly will draw the ire of the
clubs represented on the England
squad and constitutes an apparent about-face in F.A. policy. During former manager Kevin Keegan's tenure, the F.A. consistently yielded to club pressures and sent the England team into crucial
qualifying matches and even final tournament
play without adequate match preparation.
England last met Holland in their 4-1
triumph in the European Championship finals group match at Wembley on 18 June 1996.
Friday, 19 January 2001 -
Premiership clubs rejected the Football Association's recommendation that next
season start early to allow the England team adequate time to prepare for the
crucial World Cup 2002 qualification match against Germany and, should they
qualify, the World Cup final tournament in Japan and Korea.
The F.A. had suggested 4 or 11 August as the starting date to
allow extra preparation time ahead of England's warmup friendly against The
on 15 August and the qualifier against Germany on 1 September. Those dates
also would have allowed an earlier closing date for the season, which is
essential to the England team's prospects because the starting date for the
World Cup final tournament is 31 May.
But only two clubs, Manchester United and Liverpool, voted
for the 4 August starting date, and only seven supported the 11 August date,
which was also backed by the Premier League executive. The remaining 11
clubs voted in favour of 18 August, which is only one day earlier than the
present season started, apparently fearing that an earlier date would reduce
attendances because many fans would be away on holiday.
No decision has yet been made on when the season will
end. But rejection of the early starting date will harm the England team
regardless because it means either an end-of-season date too close to the start
of the World Cup to allow the national team adequate time to prepare or further
congestion in an already-crowded fixture list that will increase the injury and
exhaustion risks the players face.
Friday, 10 August 2001 - Coach Sven-Göran
Eriksson summoned a 26-man squad for the friendly match against The
White Hart Lane on Wednesday, 15 August 2001.
There were several changes from the last squad, the
24-player squad Eriksson chose for the friendly matches against Mexico on 25
May 2001 and the World Cup 2002 preliminary match against Greece on 6 June
The 20-year-old FC Bayern München AG midfielder
Owen Hargreaves, Canadian by birth but eligible for England because it was his
father's birthplace, was given his first call to the senior squad.
gave recalls to six players. Four players unavailable through injury when
the last squad was summoned have been given a recall: Nick Barmby, Frank
Lampard, Gary Neville and Richard Wright. Andrew Cole also returns to the
squad; he was suspended for the World Cup preliminary match against Greece
because he had drawn two yellow cards in the competition, and for that reason he
was omitted from the squad chosen for both the warm-up match against Mexico and
the Greece qualifier. Ugo Ehiogu also was recalled, named to the squad for
the first time since Eriksson's first match in charge, against Spain on 28
A seventh player earned a
recall of sorts. Michael Carrick--named to the last squad for the Mexico
and Greece matches but shipped to the under-21 squad after he made his debut
against Mexico and just before the Greece match on the assurance he would
rejoin the senior squad--resumed his place in the senior squad.
Six players from the last squad were
omitted. Three of them were deemed unavailable for selection because of injury or
fitness concerns: Rio Ferdinand (fitness concerns following recovery from
hamstring injury), Steve McManaman (fitness concerns as a result of shortage of
match action with Real Madrid due to the late start of the Spanish season and
preseason training) and Teddy Sheringham (Achilles tendon
injury). Joe Cole, who earned his first cap in a substitute appearance
against Mexico and then was transferred to the under-21 squad along with
Carrick before the match
with Greece, was named again to the under-21 squad, although he immediately
withdrew for lack of fitness. Ray Parlour was
dropped. David Seaman was rested so that Eriksson can look at two other
goalkeepers in the Netherlands friendly but was given assurance he will be
recalled for the World Cup preliminary match against Germany on 1 September.
Sol Campbell, who missed the matches against
Mexico and Greece through long-term injury, was not recalled to the
squad. Eriksson gave fitness concerns as the sole reason for his omission,
denying that threats against Campbell following his controversial transfer from
Tottenham Hotspur to arch rival Arsenal had played any part in his exclusion from
the match against the Netherlands, which will be played at Tottenham's home, White Hart
Lane. While it is true Campbell has not returned to
full fitness yet and appeared rusty in a pre-season appearance for his new club,
Arsenal, the Netherlands friendly would have been an ideal opportunity for him to
get rid of some of that rust. The media speculated that security fears and avoidance
of the angry barracking Campbell will undoubtedly get on his return to White Hart
Lane--a hostile atmosphere at odds with the purpose of the friendly against
Netherlands--were largely responsible for Campbell's exclusion.
unavailable for selection through long-term injury is Kieron Dyer, who is
recovering from shin splints and a more recent calf muscle tear.
Mills, given a late call which made him the 25th player summoned for the Mexico
and Greece matches, remained on the squad.
was no recall for Gavin McCann or Kevin Phillips, both of whom were members of
Eriksson's first squad for the Spain match in February. Nor was
there a return following long-term injuries for England veterans Darren Anderton, Graeme Le Saux and Jamie Redknapp, who have not figured in any of
to Joe Cole, three players named to
previous England senior squads were chosen once again for the under-21 squad:
Gareth Barry, Francis Jeffers and Seth Johnson. Michael Ball and Paul
Robinson, who returned to the under-21 squad after brief stints with the senior
squad, were unavailable for selection through injury.
11 August 2001 - Steven Gerrard withdrew from the England squad after
picking up an ankle knock during training this morning as Liverpool prepared for
tomorrow's Charity Shield match against Manchester United in Caerdydd.
Gerrard, who did not travel with the Liverpool squad to Caerdydd, has suffered
for months from a ligament injury to the same ankle, but the new injury
reportedly is not a reoccurrence of that problem and is not regarded as serious.
and Sunday, 11 and 12 August 2001 - Press reports reveal that England
coach Sven-Göran Eriksson has agreed that he will not use any player for much
more than 45 minutes in the friendly match against The Netherlands on Wednesday, and
particularly that he will not make excessive demands on players who appear in
tomorrow's Charity Shield match between Liverpool and Manchester United.
The agreement apparently was made in the hope of maintaining good relations with
the two clubs that have provided half the England squad--13 of 26 players.
It comes in the wake of club dissatisfaction with the scheduling of an
international match before the Premiership season has begun, although
Premiership clubs earlier voted against the Football Association's proposal to
begin the season earlier to accommodate international fixture demands, including
the Netherlands friendly, in a season that begins with vital World Cup qualification
matches and ends with the World Cup final tournament in Japan and South Korea. That
club dissatisfaction peaked with a threat by Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier to
withhold his players from the England squad, a threat he withdrew after Eriksson
met with him.
has also been most accommodating in failing to summon several players who could
have played against The Netherlands because of slight fitness questions--Sol Campbell,
Rio Ferdinand and Steve McManaman--and he has rested David Seaman.
The upshot is that two
England teams of diminished quality will face The Netherlands on
Wednesday, one in the first half and one in the second. That is possible
because the two sides have apparently agreed to allow up to 11 substitutions, an
arrangement which is permissible in friendly matches. Whether the friendly
fixture will serve the purpose for which it was made--preparation for the critical
World Cup qualifier against Germany on 1 September--is now highly dubious.
14 August 2001 - Nicky Butt and Emile Heskey withdrew from the England
squad this morning after failing to recover from minor knee knocks picked up in
Sunday's Charity Shield match between their clubs, Manchester United and
Liverpool. Both missed the England squad's training session at White Hart
Lane yesterday because of soreness in their knees.
August 2001 - Phil Neville withdrew from the squad after failing a late
fitness test. He strained his back in training on Tuesday and complained
of a stiff back today. He was replaced on England's 22-man playing list by
goalkeeper Richard Wright.