ENGLAND TRAIL BEHIND THE WORLD’S BEST AT ALL LEVELS

By CHRISTOPHER DAVIES

AS ENGLAND prepare to begin their season with a friendly against Scotland, footballwriters.co.uk can reveal they are trailing behind the world’s elite at the highest levels of international football, winning only a third of their games at finals this millennium.

Since 2000, at senior, Under-21, Under-20 and Under-19 levels England have won 29 of 84 games at world and European finals – 34 per cent.

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England 0, Brazil 12

By CHRISTOPHER DAVIES

HERE IS the answer: England none, Brazil 12.

The question is: how many overseas players are in the respective squads for Sunday’s friendly in Rio de Janeiro?

Roy Hodgson bemoans the dwindling number of English players in the Barclays Premier League because of the ever growing foreign legion. Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has only half of his squad playing at home. The latest Brazilian export to Europe is Neymar, who this week secured his transfer from Santos to Barcelona,

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PATRICK BARCLAY looks at England’s 2014 World Cup qualifying ties against San Marino and Montenegro

WIN in Montenegro and England are favourites to qualify

LOSE and there’s an international crisis

By CHRISTOPHER DAVIES

The preparation to the week that will go a long way to shaping England’s 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign could hardly have started worse. Instead of the focus being on an improving and dangerous Montenegro after the lesser demands of San Marino, Riogate has dominated the build-up.

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TRAPPISH – THE LANGUAGE THAT IS MAKING LEGEND TRAPATTONI A FIGURE OF RIDICULE

COLIN YOUNG of the Daily Mail explains the difficulties of working with Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni

By CHRISTOPHER DAVIES

IF THE football writers who cover England thought Fabio Capello was hard work, a few days with his fellow countryman Giovanni Trapattoni would have them yearning for the good old days under Don Fabio.

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Giving Alan Ball a piggy-back after the 1966 World Cup win…drinks with Ronnie Biggs…and praying for the phone to ring

As Fleet Street legend STEVE CURRY celebrates his 70th birthday he looks back on a successful and eventful career.

By CHRISTOPHER DAVIES

IT WAS Cassius Clay who was the springboard for Steve Curry’s career as a football writer.

And when a young, innocent lad from Lancashire came to London his life literally went to pot.

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FWA Q&A: ALAN SMITH

Daily Telegraph columnist ALAN SMITH on the Crazy Gang...Sam Wallace pressing all the right buttons...and Leicester’s lovely pork pies.

Have you ever worked in a profession other than football?
Only for half a day. When I was 18 I got picked from a long queue outside British Leyland in Birmingham to clean the oil pits during the factory holidays. Good money too - £100 a week. But couldn't stick it.

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FWA INTERVIEW ADRIAN BEVINGTON

HOW ENGLAND MANAGE THE MEDIA

By CHRISTOPHER DAVIES

THE DEMANDS of the football-covering media in England are greater than anywhere else in the world.

No other country has as many national daily or Sunday newspapers. Distribution in Spain, France, Germany or Italy would be impossible because of the size of those countries. So, on the continent, major cities tend to be served by one or two locally-based newspapers.

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