Anderton: England need Rooney
Ex-England winger Anderton says striker is the only worthy player to lead the Three Lions
Too old, too slow, and not scoring enough goals.
Some have called for England captain Wayne Rooney to be dropped for international games to facilitate a change of guard, but former England midfielder Darren Anderton feels the Manchester United man is the only one in the national team fit to lead the Three Lions.
"I hope we are not 20 years behind," said former Tottenham Hotspur winger Anderton, who is in town to promote the Battle of Europe 2016 (see sidebar).
"But, back in the 90s, what we had were leaders - Tony Adams, Stuart Pearce, David Seaman, Gazza (Paul Gascogine), Incey (Paul Ince), Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham.
"When things are not going well, we had those players to look up to, but there's not many of them now except for Rooney, who has been and still is a top player and captain.
"He's the only one and that's the problem. It shouldn't be down to just Rooney, but there isn't someone like John Terry about anymore.
"There's no one to replace Rooney as captain at the moment."
Ever since he started playing professional football, Anderton has had to endure watching arch-rivals Germany win the 1990 and 2014 World Cups as well as Euro 1996, while making three major finals.
Meanwhile, all the Three Lions could manage were two semi-final appearances at the 1990 World Cup and Euro 1996, and it has been two long decades since they even made the final four at a major tournament.
The problem, according to Anderton, is both the lack of leaders as well as a dearth of prolific No. 9s at international level.
The likes of Harry Kane, Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge, Jamie Vardy and Andy Carroll have all failed to score the crucial goals to lead England to break the 50-year trophy drought.
"The classic No. 9 is Alan Shearer and we haven't had one as good since he retired," said Anderton, who has 30 caps and seven international goals.
"Michael Owen was an unbelievable goalscorer, but he wasn't a No. 9 and injuries conspired to prevent him from becoming our all-time topscorer.
"The Shearers, Sheringhams, Owens, Fowlers, Ferdinands, there was an unbelievable amount of talented strikers going around at that time.
"I don't think there's as many at the moment for England unfortunately. Hopefully, that changes with some youngsters coming through.
"I thought Kane would be the main man for that role and he probably will still be in the future.
"Euro 2016 was a disappointing one for him and he's started the season a bit slow as well.
"But he's young, he will come back again, there's no doubt about that.
"Marcus Rashford looks fantastic and looks like he's going to be a top player. Hopefully, he will form a really good partnership with Kane in the near future."
However, Anderton feels it would be unfair to pin all the blame on the strikers when the supporting cast did not do enough to provide the ammunition, typified by the 2-1 defeat by Iceland in the Euro 2016 Round of 16.
"The team have struggled to create opportunities and score goals," said the 44-year-old.
"Goals win games and that's what it's all about. I don't solely blame the strikers for that.
"It's been a team problem for England in the last three tournaments.
"They haven't been able to create opportunities.
"When a striker gets one or two chances per game, that's not enough.
"That puts you under pressure to score from every opportunity and that's almost impossible."
The move to replace Roy Hodgson with Sam Allardyce will make a vast difference, even if it is not immediately evident from Big Sam's first game in charge, a laboured 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Slovakia.
Anderton said: "They were certainly in crisis after the Iceland game. You've got to be honest and say that it was a disaster and embarrassing for the country.
"Watching the games from the outside, you wonder if the players know what they should be doing under Hodgson.
"In the end, they looked like a bunch of individuals more than a team and that wouldn't happen under Big Sam because he's all about the team.
"They struggled a little bit against Slovakia, but that will probably be England's toughest game in their group . It wasn't a brilliant victory, but it was satisfactory.
"A new manager usually brings new ideas and new hope and there's definitely a much better feel going forward for the national team.
"I know he sets his team up to be tough to play against, tough to beat. It will be a much more positive and direct, with more crosses and balls into the box.
"Fingers crossed, Big Sam will be able to change things because it has been a very disappointing few years."
Battle of Europe factsheet
WHAT: Battle Of Europe - England Masters v Germany Masters
WHERE: National Stadium
WHEN: Saturday, Nov 12. Gates open at 5.30pm, kick-off at 7pm
TICKETING DETAILS: Tickets priced from $19 to $200, as well as $100 family packages (for two adults and two children below the age of 12) may be purchased from www.mastersfootball.com and www.sportshub.com.sg/sportshubtix/Pages/Masters-Football-2016.aspx
England Masters: David James, Paul Parker, Steve Howie, Michael Gray, Danny Murphy, Des Walker, Steve McManaman, Emile Heskey, Teddy Sheringham, Darren Anderton, Lee Hendrie, Michael Thomas, Darius Vassell
Germany Masters: Perry Braeutigam, Marko Rehmer, Jens Nowotny, Guido Buchwald, Joerg Albertz, Mario Basler, Lothar Matthaeus, Timo Hildebrand, Joerg Heinrich, Dariusz Wosz, Fredi Bobic, Alexander Zickler, Patrick Owomoyela, Dietmar Hamann, Karl-Heinz Riedle.