So, after 39 months in the international wilderness, England's struggling Euro 2008 campaign took an increasingly desperate left turn yesterday when all-round hapless lunatic Emile Heskey (left) was recalled to the England squad.
Coupled with an injury list that reads like a "who's who" of international underperformance and disappointment, England head into a crucial set of matches with their most halfwitted coach since the Turnip and a side that most second rate international nations should see off with no bother.
How has this happened? Coach wise (as I have always said), Eriksson was competent. I think the revisionist view on Sven will end up being pretty favourable, considering the sows ears he had to work with to make his silk purse. Was his choice of Vassell, Heskey or Defoe any worse than the current options? I'm not sure. McLaren, however, appears to believe that grinning inanely and treating his international players like schoolkids (Carragher, Bentley, Beckham, even) is the way forward.
And then there's the players. Despite England having one or two international standard players (Rooney? Gerrard?) this is probably the worst set of English top flight players since the early 1990s. Despite the Premiership being the richest (and supposedly best) league in the world, the dearth of English talent is immense. 9% of the Premiership's goals this season have been scored by English strikers, and, with the greatest of respect, I can't see Cameron Jerome (2), Michael Chopra (2), Matt Derbyshire or Victor Anichebe (who has chosen to represent Nigeria anyway) troubling major international defences (Heskey and Darren Bent are the others).
When an injury to Kieron Dyer is portrayed as a huge blow to England's chances, you know something serious is up. And you know what? Something serious is up. England are in real trouble that even a fully fit first choice XI would struggle to remedy. And this weekend's second choice and second rate selection leave me with no confidence at all.