Keith Ingham speaks about England's shocking loss to Iceland on Monday evening and points the finger at who's to blame.
I'm old enough to remember when the lions roared in 1966. I was only a six-year old boy but remember something really special happened in that summer. Since then I've seen the tackle by Moore, when Lineker scored and 'Psycho' screaming (Three Lions) but precious little else.
The ignominious exit of the England team to a better organised and more determined Iceland team was the last straw to many.
We haven't done well recently in tournaments under 'Woy' Hodgson, a manager more adapt to looking after a under10 team than a national team.
The blame though doesn't stop with him, no way, in estimates the England team collectively is worth over 500million but played as if they'd never seen a ball. They struggled through a pretty easy group only to fall again at the knockout stage, it it's ten years since we won a game after the group games, Ecuador I think, 1-0.
Where do we go from here, do the fans care? Well many who spend thousands of euros following these under achievers may do but on the whole people are far more interested in their club teams returning to action in August. Why bother about a set of overpaid, as a newscaster said 'nonces'?
The national game, in my opinion, is at a crossroads and something radical needs to be done to avoid England becoming a second rate football nation.
Howard Wilkinson had a plan after he left Leeds but his ideas were not taken up by the English FA. A similar plan was then implemented by the German FA and after winning the under21 tournament, nine of the players that were in that team later won the World Cup.
It can be done but not by continuing to pay football players hundreds of thousands of pounds. There needs to be a ceiling of no more than 100k a week, and even that is too much money for chasing a ball around a grass field for 90+ minutes.
If the players don't like it, let them bugger off abroad and see them come back with their tails between their legs after it all went Pete Tong.
Sky has to take some blame for the incredible wages that clubs pay because without their millions they surely wouldn't have the financial clout to offer the players such amounts of money.
In a short space of time you have seen the country exit Europe twice, what happens now to the country and the football team is up for debate.
One thing clear though is if a team that comes from a country as big as Leicester can beat us without much effort, we seriously are in for a few uncertain years in the international football wilderness.
By Keith Ingham
With preseason officially starting today and fans extremely excited for the new season, I got the opportunity to speak to flying winger Jordan Botaka about his first season and the next.
Botaka had a mixed season in which he was in and out of the match day squad. One thing that he is hoping to change this season. The talented winger definitely has the skill and drive to be a real star at Leeds United and here's hoping that he gets his opportunities this season.
Below is the interview; Enjoy!
After your first full season in England, how do you think it went?
After a decent start against Middlesbrough, Birmingham and Brighton I was a bit unlucky that Mr Rösler got replaced. Mr Rösler really invested time in me and the team to play offensive football.
After the change of manager we started to play other systems and adapting to opponents more than play from our own qualities. Because of that we sometimes played without wingers or only one. So many times I was left out of the squad due to that although I gave everything at training.
Luckily the supporters and my team mates supported me in that difficult period. That motivated me to keep going and I got to finish the season strong and be important for the team a.o. against Hull away.
Was it nice to receive such support after your appearance at home vs Wolves?
That gave me a big motivation. During the season the fans always cheered and sang for me, even when I wasn't in the squad. That's really incredible. Unfortunately my first touch landed on the cross-bar and I couldn't reward the fans for their believe in me instantly. I was very content with that win because it was the closure of a difficult period.
What have you been doing during the off season?
I have played two matches with the national team of Congo. One against Romania and the other against Madagascar. In the latter I scored one goal. So besides a short trip to the US with some team mates and a wedding of Yanick Bolasie (Crystal Palace) in Spain I really didn't have a lot of free time. But that's ok for me because I can't wait to start pre-season after last season which I consider as a lost season in my career because I didn't get much chances.
There's a lot of speculation as to where your best position is, but what is your preferred position?
Right or left wing in a 4-3-3 system is my favorite position.
What can Leeds fans expect from you in your second season in England?
Goals and assists! It's as simple as that!
Are you hoping to hit the ground running in preseason?
After the whistle at Preston I was already thinking about this upcoming season. Because I played quit well with the national team I hope that I keep in this flow off the last couple of months.
Are you excited to work with new head coach Garry Monk?
All the people I talk to about the manager are very enthustatic, especially because he is known for his offensive kind of play. Besides that he had a big career himself so I think I can learn a lot of him.
Is there anything specific that you will be focusing on in preseason training?
I am known now with everything and everybody around the club and starting pre-season as off day 1. That's the big difference with last season when I signed at deadline day and the same day I had to travel to Africa for a match for with the national team.
Because of that I lost almost a month before I could make my debut. So there's nothing special this season in comparison with last season beside that I want to convince Mr Monk from the start that I can contribute to a winning team.
Where do you predict the club will finish next season?
With Newcastle in the Championship it's going to be a tough season.
The group is eager to get into the play-offs for promotion. I think we can be a dark horse for promotion.
We'd like to thank Jordan for taking the time to answer our questions ahead of an extremely important preseason for the winger.
In my opinion, there's no doubt that he should be given his opportunity this season. He's incredible talenteded and driven and could be one of our standout players this year.
We wish you all the best and hope that you star this season for the Whites!
By Ryan Ingham
Head of Content Keith Ingham writes about enjoying the Euros while abroad in Ibiza.
I'm abroad and it's summer football, Euro 2016 in France no less. The finest footballers in Europe pitting their skills against each other for the prize of being named European Champions.
We left the comforts of home nearly ten days ago when the hopes of England were in the balance. They still are, but at least a dismal group exit won't affect the current European referendum.
Mark my words it's so different watching your country abroad than it is at home. We do it with a few smiles on our faces because we are away from home, it's warm and the weather always has an influence on Brits abroad.
Well it does if your in Ibiza and not in France where gangs of Eastern European thugs aren't chasing you around the town with every weapon known to man.
I shared the 'Battle of Britain' with friends we'd met here, English and Welsh sharing laughs, joy and despair, not a cross word spoken by any of us. We were out for a game of football between home nations and isn't that what footballs all about? Sharing time with friends and drinking beer!
My thoughts on England; we're not bad at keeping the ball but when it comes to the final third it just seems to be the wrong pass, or in Jack Wiltshire's case, one of the opponents players.
If we're lucky we'll get through to the quarter finals then anything can happen. Bless him, old Woy doesn't do the simple things and may pay the price for the changes he made against Slovakia.
The fixtures will be out by the time my son gets off his sun bed and publishes this, they will have been released. He's away also but in Tenerife so his experiences of the competition may differ from mine.
(Editors note- life's great, beers good and I'm dining in a convertible Cadillac tonight, England who?)
Now to Leeds, we'll start to plan for next season and hopefully with a few additions it might be a good season under Mr Monk, it's an important time for Leeds and we need to be on the front foot from the day we know who we play and when.
Newcastle away April 15th - jolly boys outing in the toon already planned!
Here's the fixture list;
Back to Euro 2016, not seen the best games whilst abroad; Spain impressed then fell apart against Croatia, Germans are just Germans and like a well oiled machine, they'll be in the last four.
Italy don't seem to know which is their best eleven and the exploits of Northern Ireland, Iceland and Wales have surprised a few. Portugal; Ronaldo et al seem to be determined to do it the hardest way possible with Ron not having the best of tournaments but it's only the group stages. Disappointed so far with the standard of football played.
I'll be home by the time England next kick a ball in the tournament against as yet to be decided opponents; Austria, Iceland, Hungary or Portugal yet to finish their group games and if I've read it correctly it will be the team who finishes second will play us.
Last tournament I was away was the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. I asked my then girlfriend Linda to marry me after a bloody good session on the beer after a 2-0 win against Trinidad and Tobago.
Nothing as dramatic this time but I've still enjoyed being abroad when the footy is on.
It's good but it's still not Leeds!
By Keith Ingham
If you have any stories about being abroad for this seasons Euros, then drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post your story too!
As preseason is about to start, I got the opportunity to speak to Ronaldo Vieira ahead of a vital season in his Leeds United career.
The talented midfielder has been spoken about a lot over the past months, with plenty of fans excited to see how the Guinea-Bissau born midfielder will feature in Garry Monk's new squad.
There's no doubt we are expecting big things from Ronaldo, who came from the illustrious i2i Sports academy after leaving Benfica some years ago.
I remember speaking to his agent when Ronaldo was a mysterious player who had been involved in a development squad friendly and from then on, it was clear the young lad had a bright future in football.
We have now spoken to Ronaldo on several occasions and I can once again say that he has been happy to answer our questions in the run up to preseason, where he could be heavily featured in the first teams plans.
Here's what he had to say:
We'd first like to say congratulations on signing a two-year deal with Leeds, how did it feel when you signed the contract?
It was a great feeling to sign my first pro contract. It has been my dream to play professional football and this was too.
Did you expect to be placed in the squad for the last game of the season?
No not at all. In the week leading up to the game I trained with the first team, but I had trained with the first team on previous occasions and was not expecting to be selected in the squad. It was a huge surprise.
With summer recruitment apparently starting, Leeds need quite a players to complete our squad, with both additions and cover needed to give us a sizeable squad.
Garry Monk will surely be assessing what is needed in order for a good season and will be highlighting key positions that need strengthening within the coming weeks.
Monk is a man that seems like he'll do his homework before making any decisions on who to add, but it looks like he's already found one position he'd like to strengthen.
According to widespread reports, including the YEP, Monk is after a British based keeper to be between the sticks next season. With reports linking the club with both Lee Grant and Lee Camp being touted as potential suitors for the number one spot.
Although I do think Silvestri could do with being replaced, I don't think either keeper is good enough for the number one spot and I'd rather see young keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell given the chance over them two.
Other positions that could do with a few added signings are; centre-back, left back, attacking midfield, wingers and a forward.
There's quite a few positions, but if the club are to challenge for promotion, improvement is needed in a lot of areas.
For the left back we are desperate for cover. Charlie Taylor nearly played every game last season and at times you could see fatigue creep in. If we are going forward, we need someone to come in and give the Player of the Season some rest in a busy schedule.
As for the other positions, here are a few players that could really add to our game and give us not only a strong side, but impact from the bench.
The young Arsenal midfielder is set to be available this summer rather on loan or permanently after not being able to force his way into Arsene Wenger's plans.
Not only is Hayden versatile, giving strength in depth in both midfield and defence, he is strong and powerful on the ball and will make a good replacement for the departing Liam Bridcutt.
The 21-year old spent a fantastic loan spell at Hull City last season and helped the club win promotion, something he could do for us too.
The talented Swede's time at Sunderland is all but over and he will be looking for a new club once he has finished his international duty this summer.
Linked with a move to Leeds already, it seems Monk is very interested in bringing the 31-year old to Elland Road.
Versed in both central midfield and wide roles, Larsson adds something different that Leeds don't have at the moment, top flight experience.
There's no doubt Larsson could give some of the young lads at Lufc a few lessons in winning big matches and how to progress further in their careers and he could be seen as an older head to bind the dressing room.
The talented Swede is also a fantastic technical midfielder, with a range of passing and set pieces that could amaze Leeds fans and cause havoc for Championship defences.
The Southend stopper has now left on a free transfer and is now looking to find a new club this summer.
Linked previously with a move to Leeds on two separate occasions including Cellino himself going to watch Bentley last season, Leeds could yet revive their interest in him.
The 22-year old may seem young to take up the number one spot at Leeds, but with over 140 appearances under his belt and a promotion with Southend on his CV, he could be exactly what Leeds need between the sticks.
Another player that was linked with a move to Leeds that eventually fell through.
After a bid was accepted from Leeds for the forward, he decided to join Bristol City instead and at the time, who could blame him? Bristol City were flying through League One and ended the season with a double, all we could offer him was a mid-table Championship finish.
Agard adds bags of pace and dynamism to our front line and can be deployed as a second striker or as a right sided attacker in a 4-3-3 formation and is not afraid of scoring, with 15 goals in his first season at Ashton Gate.
The pacey 26-year old hardly featured last season and with Lee Johnson set to revamp his squad this summer, his casualty could be our gain.
He's not a big fix, but a player that could come in on the cheap and definitely add something from the bench.
Currently linked with a move away from Bournemouth, Elphick was instrumental in the club reaching the Premier League in their fantastic promotion season.
With bags of promotion experience and a cool head, the 28-year old could be a signing that completely turns our side around and would be perfect to lead the line in defence and Marshall in Monk's new defensive strategies.
The former Brighton man is set to enter the peak of his career and he could be perfect to partner with rather Bamba or Cooper as Leeds look to make Elland Road a fortress.
Fresh from a loan spell at Reading and looking increasingly uncertain about his future prospects at his parent club Watford, Vydra is surely available to leave the Premier League side this summer.
A perfect partner in crime for Chris Wood, Vydra is capable of finding ample amounts of space and would be there for when Wood knocks the ball down.
Vydra is a player that needs to prove himself and Leeds could be the perfect place for him to come good.
An impressive 16 goals the season Watford were promoted proves he can make it in the Chanpionship and with a strike partner like Wood, we could have one of the deal first strike forces in the league.
A Tottenham Hotspur youth graduate, and we all know that youth at Tottenham is something to savour right now.
Ward spent last season on loan at Rotherham and was extremely impressive during his time in Yorkshire, making over 40 appearances.
The 21-year old is more than capable of playing all across the midfield and further forward and would be a great player to come in and fill gaps when needed.
A dab hand at creating space in the oppositions half and getting the game going, Ward's turn of pace and ability to shoot from long range could be a welcome addition in the Leeds midfield.
So there are a few picks who could make a big impact for Leeds next season. If we could make any additions like some of the players above, we could be looking at a fantastic squad come August.
Let's hope Monk gets more of a free reign in the market and gets some game changers for us.
Next season needs to be the big one for the lads!
M O T
By Ryan Ingham
Although we haven't been informed where we're going or who we're playing, preseason is just around the corner for Leeds United and this ones a big'n.
The club are at a crossroads at this current time, we have a youthful squad, talented and capable of big performances and a fantastic manager that is eager to prove himself.
That combination is one that we've been dreaming of for some time and promotions have been won for less.
This in total, means this preseason needs to be a big one. We need to hit the ground running and really push to start the season on a rich vein of preseason prowess.
We need to be arranging games against clubs who can challenge us, not just based in the UK, but abroad. We don't need to beat a second rate team 17-0 to prove our ability, we need to play lower end Europa League teams and see how we fettle.
Teams like Ludogrets or Rapid Vienna could be the perfect way to pick out our best performers and games at home to the likes of Sheffield United and Rangers could really get bums on seats at Elland Road.
Now to the squad. We already have a talented squad, even if it is a little short of numbers and no new signings have been arranged.
To my count, we have 22 first team players, just over enough to fill a squad. This however does include three goalkeepers, the torrid Tommaso Bianchi and youth players like Lewie Coyle and Ronaldo Vieira.
There's no doubt we need some reinforcements, but there are fringe players in the squad that could yet come good under Garry Monk.
Lee Erwin started to show his potential when he featured at the back end of the season and at only 21-years old, he still has time to grow. I'd expect that the young Scottish forward will be eager to impress under his new boss.
There is also forgotten man Caspar Sloth and although it was said he could be a 'Rosler type of player' the same can be said under Garry Monk. The former Swansea boss is a big fan of playmakers who can dictate play and I'd expect Monk to give Sloth his chance before August.
Finally, their are players that are currently in the youth ranks that could be set to feature this preseason. The aforementioned Ronaldo Vieira has been touted as one of the next players to be a star at Elland Road and will definitely be in Monk's plans for preseason.
His technical ability and versatility are meant to be some of the best at Thorp Arch, with many people stating he is a star in the making for the Whites.
Other youngsters who may be set to feature this preseason are;
Tyler Denton: a flying left back who has the talent and knowledge to be an instant backup for Charlie Taylor this season.
Jack Vann: a young centre-back who has already been touted as a future England defender and who is a big character in the youth setup.
Tom Pearce: a left sided midfielder or defender who has both goals and assists in his game.
Eoghan Stokes: the striker that was promised. Stokes has been a fantastic talent for the youth squads and looks to be ready to make the step up to the first team squad.
Henry Rollinson: a right midfielder who can also play central. Technically gifted with a footballing brain that surpasses his young age.
Overall, we could see a few new lads come in to the squad this summer even if signings aren't in abundance. Although it's not a break the bank £5million+ signing, I do love a young lad coming through the youth ranks to star in a white shirt.
Here's to the Whites having a fantastic to preseason and starting the season that promises everything off well.
On On On to July!
By Ryan Ingham
With clubs starting to reveal their retained lists, plenty of clubs will find some real gems in the unwanted masses.
There's definitely some bargains out there that Leeds should be taking notice of the players that have now become available as the Premier League retained lists have been announced.
There's no shame in bringing in players for free, the Calibre of player that now is available on the free market is phenomenal and it's about time Leeds looked into beating clubs to some of the best gems searching for new clubs.
Below is a lot of players that are now available on free transfers who could really add something to our currently mines use squad.
The former Everton striker has finally departed the Baggies after three mixed years at the club and will be hoping to reinvent himself at this new club.
Although he's never been reliable for goals, he's still an imposing forward that can create chances and bring other players into the game.
He's a player that could do well with Chris Wood, giving the Aussie space to drive th a all forward. He is also great in the air, so the pressures off Wood when it comes to crosses.
The talented midfielder was since linked with a to the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United when he was tearing up the Premier League for Sunderland.
Another player to leave West Brom after falling out of the first team, Sessegnon's ability on the ball and versatility could be a major bonus to our currently limited squad size.
Predominantly an attacking midfielder, Sessegnon could slot into the role straight away and push Cook back to his more suited central midfield role.
Another striker, but one who can score goals when on form. Fletcher is one of the best players to be available on a free transfer this summer and could be a star in the Championship.
The big man up top would still do a great job in the Premier League, but in the Championship he could be a player to push past 20 goals a season with ease.
His neat finishing and special awareness could be a real bonus to our squad and he'd definitely add another dimension to our game.
The talented playmaker has never fit in at Southampton and was farmed out to Middlesbrough in January.
In his spell at Teeside Ramirez scored 7 goals and was a major part of the club's promotion push and clearly knows how to play in the Championship.
Another attacking midfielder that would be perfect for the No.10 in a 4-2-3-1, Ramirez has the ability to dictate play and create scoring chances, something we are crying out for.
A virtually unknown but a fantastic prospect that has surprisingly been released by Norwich City.
The young Jamaican forward has bags of pace and knows his way around a 6-yard box, two things that we could do with adding to our squad.
Loza may not have had the best spell at Southend United and at the age of 22, he really needs a chance to show his skills and is worth a gamble.
An unheard of youth that was said to be the next big thing for Liverpool.
McLaughlin can play anywhere down the right and is blessed with both pace and defensive sensibility.
The 21-year old could be perfect cover for Gaetano Berardi and Lewie Coyle along with giving us a second option on the right side of the midfield.
One player I would love to see at Leeds United strutting his stuff.
Powell has suffered since joint scum and the shithouses' across the Pennines have ruined a fantastic prospect in the young attacking midfielder.
The 22-year old is able to play as an attacking midfielder, central midfielder and a striker and could be the perfect player to come in and add a bit of flair to our squad.
A former successful partnership with Luke Murphy could see the pair reunite to terrorise Championship midfielder to now end, something that should excite everyone.
With Crystal Palace conceding so many goals last season, it's a shock that the Jamaican defender didn't get many chances this season.
Brute strength, experience and versatility, Mariappa has everything that we are currently begging for at the heart of the defence.
There's no doubt that Monk will look to make additions in defence, with only three recognised centre-backs currently at the squad and Mariappa could be the perfect addition to add some sensibility to the squad.
The South African midfield maestro might be past it to some but I still think that he has a good season left in him and why not at Elland Road?
Not only would Pienaar give us an option as a winger, but he can also play in the centre of midfield and dictate play.
A big risk at the age of 34 and only six appearances to his name this season, his tenacity to not give up and Premier League experience could be a major addition to the squad.
Na na na... Na!
It has to be said it hardly took a while to complete the changeover at Leeds United.
After the parting of the ways for Steve Evans, the new Head Coach was unveiled at the theatre of every lasting hope on Thursday afternoon, flanked by the new CO of the club Barattieri and Leeds United legend Eddie Gray.
So what do we know about the combative ex-Swansea City central defender and manager?
He started his playing career at Torquay United before moving on to Southampton, spending a further loan spell at his boyhood club.
He then had further loan spells at Stockport County, Oxford United, Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley. He eventually moved from Southampton on a free transfer in 2004 to Barnsley but stayed only a short time before moving to Swansea City.
It was there where his reputation as a 'no nonsense' defender came to the fore. Swansea were in the old Division Two and not soon after his debut he was shown the red card in the game with Shrewsbury Town, ex-Leeds player Andy Robinson was also sent off in the same game.
In 2005 he was part of the Swansea team to reach the Playoff final, but they lost in the Millennium Stadium to Barnsley in a penalty shootout.
The following season Monk was made captain but shortly after he picked up an early season injury and missed the entire 2006/07 season with cruciate ligament damage.
The following season he led Swansea to the Championship for the first time in twenty plus years, he lifted the League One champions trophy and they did so with a record amount of points (92).
The season after they missed out on the playoffs on the final day of the campaign. However, the following season they achieved promotion to the Premiership beating Reading in the Playoff final.
Whenever he played against us he always came across as a 'class, no nonsense' centre back and regularly gave our strikers a hard game. He also led by example, even though occasionally getting on the wrong side of the referees whistle.
In the early months of 2014 he was named interim manager after the sacking of Michael Laurdrup, he was given the position permanently in the May of 2014. In his first season Swansea finished a respectable eighth position.
After twelve years at the club he was sacked in December 2015 after a miserable run of results, one win in eleven games in the 2015/16 season.
What is clear is that he is well respected within the game and his teams, when I've seen them, played a very positive style of football.
It is in my view a positive step by Massimo Cellino, he will however need to be seriously backed financial this summer if Leeds are serious about mounting a top six challenge.
Welcome to Leeds Garry.
By Keith Ingham
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