England is looking for a new icon that resembles the last one, which paradoxically seduced them both for being unique and countercultural. Like all countries that prove the happiness of the rare appearance of a genius, unpredictable and overwhelming, they want to repeat, and they have been waiting for years for the coming of the new Paul Gascoigne. These days the signs seem to have intensified. The European Championship has returned to Wembley, where this Friday an England-Scotland (21.00, Telecinco), the classic of the classics, is played, and it is debated whether it will be Phil Foden, or perhaps Jack Grealish. All three days after Tuesday marked the 25th anniversary of one of Gazza's magical moments.
On June 15, 1996, in another England-Scotland, in another European Championship, he scored one of his most memorable goals, the one in which he makes a hat with his left foot over the Scotsman Hendry, enters the area and before he falls the ball hits Goram with his right hand.
The end of the play is sensational, but the context makes the set an English legend.
It was their tournament, in their stadium, in the oldest match of all time (the first time they played against Scotland was in 1872, almost a century and a half ago), and it happens at the point where the fate of the match was decided. .
🏴 Gazza magic at Wembley 25 years ago today!
🤯 # EURO2020 |
- UEFA EURO 2020 (@ EURO2020) June 15, 2021
Shearer had headed England ahead in a play involving current coach Gareth Southgate. It was entered in the last quarter of an hour and Terry Venables, on the English bench, decided to replace Gascoigne. The sign with his number was ready when Tony Adams committed a penalty. Venables suspended the change. The Scottish captain, McAllister, shot hard and Seaman stopped, who immediately served long. From the penalty and the possible 1-1 at the instant of Gazza's conjurer, barely a minute elapses. Wembley explodes, Gascoigne falls ecstatically on his back on the grass, and Redknapp squirts a bottle of drink on his face. That scene completed his portrait of a national team legend that had begun to be drawn with his tears six years earlier in the semifinal of the World Cup in Italy,when he saw a yellow against Germany and realized that he would miss the final if they came. That they did not arrive.
But a quarter of a century ago at Wembley, 29 years old and incipient overweight, Gascoigne was crowned and, in a way, a painful descent began there too.
Meanwhile, England undertook the search for a replacement, in which it has pointed out for example Wayne Rooney.
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Until this new generation of hope appeared that adds gunpowder to the team that stepped on the semifinals of the World Cup in Russia. At this point, in addition, Phil Foden (Stockport, 21 years old) asked his hairdresser for something that was shocking. "I had the same haircut for centuries, so I thought of a change," he said ten days ago, the first time that English footballers appeared before the media since their concentration in St. George's Park. "I woke up this morning and they compared me to Gazza and Eminem," she said of her new platinum hair. "They told me they liked it."
The impression by the new appearance of Foden awoke the illusion of a new advent, although Rooney himself assured in
that his hair will not suffice. He has identified another successor: “Jack Grealish is the closest thing I've ever seen to Gazza on a soccer field. He has a lot to do to reach Gazza's levels, but his style of play, the way he catches the ball and runs with it in a way that is so disconcerting to whoever faces him, his sheer confidence on the field. ; all that reminds me of the legend that I saw at Everton and with whom I later trained, ”wrote the ex-footballer.
Grealish (Birmingham, 25 years old), Aston Villa player, is aware of being among the candidates for the succession: “I take it as something positive.
Being compared to these people means that I am doing something right.
Pressure is a good thing, ”he said.
Foden, who was extremely reserved when he jumped the first times from the quarry to Guardiola's Manchester City dressing room, is not scared by the illusions he has aroused: “I don't care about comparisons with Gazza.
Is a great player.
I remember seeing summaries of his best plays.
It would not be bad to bring Gazza back to the field ”, he played.
Company for Kane
Grealish, who has reached the European Championship after a difficult year due to injuries, also exploited the playful side: "[Foden] has more options, because he has hair ... He is an extremely talented player," he said. Although in the case of Foden and his options to curdle as a reference that accompanies that of Harry Kane in the field, it is not only about talent, or hair, although the dye reveals an evolution in his character beyond visual impact: " Not all of them are as brave as I am, ”he said when asked if he believed his teammates would be dyed if they won the European Championship.
However, Rooney maintains his bet on Grealish, who did not play the first game against Croatia. To stop Modric and Kovacic, Gareth Southgate chose to enlist Kalvin Phillips, another bright young appearance, perhaps the most decisive footballer in that meeting. "But if you are looking for someone to open the team with a little magic, Grealish is the one who can do it," the former forward wrote.
The effect of the Villa footballer on the opposing defenses is an attraction almost of gravitational force: he was the Premier player who received the most fouls last season, 100, when the second, Mané, got 64. But Grealish is more reserved on his approach to the legend of Gazza: "We both [Foden and he] know that we have a long way to go to get closer to him," he said.
In addition, the Villa has already left the experiments with dyeing behind: "I dyed my hair a little last year and my mother didn't like it, so I'm going to stay that way."
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