It’s been a difficult couple of months for England, whether you’re a fan, player or coach. Five losses on the bounce for the first time since those dark Andy Robinson days (although these defeats have come exclusively against the top two sides in the world), questions over selection and the quality of coaching, and the lack of form of several key players has all led to the rather negative aura pervading the state of English side at the moment. But it could be worse.
You see, all this criticism of various players – some of it over the top – started me thinking (which is always dangerous): who have been the most questionable selections for the England jersey? Or, if that’s not specific enough for you – who would fill the spots of the XV Of England Players Who (If We’re Being Honest) Probably Shouldn't Have Been England Players?
Of course, I need to make a couple of caveats. Firstly, I’m only selecting players post-2000, mainly for memory purposes but also because you otherwise end up with some pretty obscure names from the infamous Tour from Hell in 1998...such as Rob Fidler, for example (bonus points to those who can name his club and position). Secondly, I have to of course acknowledge that all of the below are roughly 1000 times the player I am or ever could be and – no matter what – they have an England cap (or several) which nobody can ever take away. Unless it’s stolen, I suppose.
But the fact of the matter is that being selected for International duty means you're the best available player in your position in the country and, in the case of some players, that was a rather sobering thought to some fans. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the team with the capacity to strike sheer and utter despondency into the hearts of its own supporters...the XV Of England Players Who (If We’re Being Honest) Probably Shouldn't Have Been England Players. Snappier titles will be considered.
|"Is that biltong??"|
10. Andy Goode. I should say at the outset that I rate old Andy very highly as a player – he’s been a dominant force for a decade in the Premiership and he had some very decent games indeed in an England shirt. He’s by no means the worst 10 to play for England, not by a long shot. But look at him. Fly-halves are supposed to be the pin-up boys of any side, the athletic and charming playmakers who have more girlfriends than anyone else. Goodey looks like a space-hopper with a comb-over. No matter how cultured that boot is, the England fly-half – the poster boy of the international side – shouldn’t look like that.
Who have we missed, or who's been hard done by? Leave your thoughts below.