Is Scott Carson the Worst Debutant England Keeper?
This article analyzes Englandís failure to reach next yearís Euro 2008 Finals in which much of the blame has been placed on debutant goalie Scott Carson. Is he the lousiest debutant keeper to play for England? Read on to find the answer!
Well, think again. Making his competitive debut for the England national team on 21 November 2007, Carson committed a schoolboy error in the 20th minute by allowing a speculative 20m drive from Portsmouthís Niko Kranjcar to slip into the net.
And with that, Englandís hopes of reaching next yearís European Finals went up in smoke. England eventually lost 2-3 to Croatia with some slack defending and marked their first Finals non-appearance since 1984.
Born in 1985, the young 22-year old Carson was pushed to guard the goalmouth as Tottenhamís Paul Robinson faded into obscurity following a drastic dip in form in both domestic and international soccer fronts. Bought by Liverpool from Leeds Utd after the latterís disastrous financial woes were exposed, Carson was however never able to move ahead of current Liverpool number one Jose Reina.
Constantly warming the bench and facing the likely prospects of not making to the England squad, Carson made a loan switch to Aston Villa this season where he impressed with a series of fine performances and clean sheets.
But to be fair to Carson, his four defenders protecting him should not be absolved. Veteran Portsmouth defender Sol Campbell was a pale shadow of his usual robustness while Evertonís fullback Jolean Lescott was out-of-sorts playing with Campbell in central defence. ManchesterCityís rightback Micah Richards gave a raw performance which is below par and Chelseaís leftback WayneBridge played listlessly to expose Carson in conceding the second goal.
In 135 years of international soccer for the English, Carsonís debut performance ranks among the worst. But is it really that bad? Consider the following goalkeeping incidents: in 1878 Conrad Warner debuted for Scotland, leaked an incredible seven goals and never played for the national squad again. Forward to 2000 where promising IpswichTownís Richard Wright made his England debut against minnows Malta also at age 22. Foolishly, he gave away two penalties and topped it by scoring an own goal. He went on to secure a prized move to Arsenal but performed unsteadily. Presently, he is languishing in the West Ham reserves when he should have peaked as a keeper of his age.
Englandís failure to secure a single point against Croatia that would have booked them a ticket to the Euro 2008 Finals has impacted the country in more than one way.
First, they immediately fell to 12th in Fifaís world rankings and 10th in Europe after defending European champions Greece leapfrogged them. This implies that England will not be one of the nine seeded European teams for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers; rather, they are regrouped together with Croatia in qualifying Group F. Note that only the group winners automatically qualify for a trip to South Africa, making the job of the new England manager even tougher.
Second, the economic fall-out is heavy with the British economy expected to lose up to £1b due to Englandís elimination. This conclusion was derived from an examination of the economic impact of Euro 2004 and World Cup 2006 Finals. We can all but expect a drastic drop in advertising revenue and consumer spending next summer.
Undoubtedly, Carsonís name will not go down well in history. Thankfully, soccer fans are in general notorious for being capricious, spitting their anger on every other fall guy on the pitch. And so it wonít be long before the next Carson comes along. Or will the English get their revenge against Croatia come late next year?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kum Cheong is an avid England fan (who doesnít spits) and clearly disappointed by the fiasco. The spotlight has fallen on sacked manager Steve McClaren. Is he the worst England manager ever? Find out today at†Kum Cheong's Soccer Blog!