England legend Ashley Cole revealed that he can’t really put a finger on what the Three Lions’ “Golden Generation” lacked during their active years.
As part of the England so-called “Golden Generation”, left-back Ashley Cole became one of his country’s best players in that position to ever represent the Three Lions in several competitions.
That generation existed between 2001 and 2010, it was formed by historic players like John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Paul Sholes, David Beckham, Michael Owen, and Wayne Rooney.
If you talk about the individual careers of each player from this list, you could’ve easily tried to guess that they must have produced some very important moments together in competitions such as the World Cup or European Championships.
But you would be completely wrong to assume that because this so-called “Golden Generation” found several obstacles that never allowed them to perform to the full extent of their capacity.
The competition in which everybody believed they would actually get all the way to the end was the 2004 Euros, but an early and unfortunate injury sustained by Wayne Rooney prevented them from getting to the final stages.
The former Manchester United legend is the one player they needed to work as a team, the one who could score the important goals and he never really lived up to the expectations.
The same situation goes with Michael Owen, we all know how much he suffered from injuries throughout his whole career and how much the England squad missed the best version of this player.
Another major aspect that contributed to England’s fails during the Golden Generation was the midfield, they arguably had three of the greatest English midfielders of all time playing together but they never really understood each other.
Later after they all retired, Frank Lampard confessed that the rivalry between clubs may have been an important factor that influenced their chemistry inside the pitch when they all wore the England jersey.
All these factors matter when you are trying to make one of those golden generations work together, just ask Spain or Belgium to see how much they have succeeded during their most impressive runs.
England could’ve had a lot more relevance back when they had such an incredible roster of players, but they were never the same when they played with their club than when they performed for their country.
When you ask some of the players who were part of this group, almost nobody can tell you what the real problem was.
Wayne Rooney: The last player from England's 'golden generation' to retire from International football.
Still contemplating how this side never won a major trophy… 🏴 pic.twitter.com/kRT6DJZyru
— Old Days Football (@OldDaysFootball) November 16, 2018
During a recent Ashley Cole participation on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, the defender was asked a series of Twitter questions by the fans about several topics.
By far the most interesting one came when they questioned him about this fantastic generation of players, the former Arsenal and Chelsea left-back is still unable to respond properly about what the problem was.
“England’s ‘golden generation’ was always confident coming into tournaments, we had strong players in every position but it just didn’t happen for us.”
“It’s too hard to put a stamp on the reason we didn’t do it, we just fell short on penalties or not being good enough.”
“This is something that I will definitely look back and wonder why we didn’t, but I think a lot of ex-players and players who were in and around the squad couldn’t put a finger on it.”
“Maybe everyone was just better than us, other teams were better than us,” said Cole about the England squad
Another interesting question that Cole responded had to do with his pick between Messi and Ronaldo as the most difficult player to mark.
“I think it has to be Messi, obviously people talk about the Ronaldo comparison more because I played against him more but I think that Messi on his day was too good for me,” he said.
“But again, he’s never scored against me (he laughed).”
“We lacked a manager brave enough to sort our midfield.”
Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Rio Ferdinand on just why England's golden generation failed to deliver…pic.twitter.com/wehujoGGBD
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 13, 2018
Why do you think England’s Golden Generation didn’t work? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.