Reflections on the John Terry Trial

Much has been written about the detail of this case and in my view, I cannot think of a context where the use of language “f..b..c..” is acceptable.

As I write this I stop myself typing out the full words and I ask myself why. I realise that I have now read the words  “f..b..c..” repeatedly on the internet and in every newspaper for the last week. My fear is that through repetition they lose their charge, they become banal and acceptable in everyday discourse. Could this vile phrase one day find its way into the Oxford English Dictionary?

This is terrifying and is a clear example of the importance of language in the way we think about and frame our ideas about the world. Natasha Henry http://SoNatashaSays.blogspot.com says it cogently in today’s Observer “How can I explain to my 10 year old cousin that racially charged language is not OK, when now perhaps it is?”

My hair starts to stand on end when I then hear about the use of the “ch..ice” phrase in reference to Ashley Cole and Rio Ferdinand’s apparent support for it. The idea that Cole is somehow a “sell out”. A sell out to who and what I ask myself?

This tawdry incident is an example of how anger spins out of control.  It started as a “playground” spat on the football field with Anton Ferdinand raising the stakes and making it personal by referring to Terry’s alleged “affair”.  Terry fired back and duly lost the captaincy, Capello resigned, Rio was left out of the squad, the “sarcasm” defence stood up in court and now we experience the reverse “intolerance” focused on Ashley Cole.

Sadly this incident shows how a small amount of anger can fuel the fire and trigger deeply held but well – hidden attitudes and beliefs.  It illustrates how a person’s race ( or sexuality for that matter) is still the currency of abuse for a whole generation of young men. Such behaviour must speak about something missing, a hollowness in the very soul of one who needs a stereotype to rage against in order to feel powerful.

I am reminded of Nelson Mandela’s statement: “I detest racialism, because I regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black man or a white man. Racism is a blight on the human conscience. The idea that any people can be inferior to another, to the point where those who consider themselves superior define and treat the rest as sub-human, denies the humanity even of those who elevate themselves to the status of gods” http://db.nelsonmandela.org/speeches/pub_view.asp?pg=item&ItemID=NMS399&txtstr=Joint%20houses.

This could have been nipped in the bud if Terry and Ferdinand had been better in charge of their actions. There are simple ways to catch your angry behaviour and to control angry thoughts.

Like it or not these relatively young men are role models for a generation. Along with the high rewards is – like it or not – the responsibility to stick strictly to a behaviour code which includes managing their anger both on and off the football field. Otherwise Terry’s acquittal becomes an open invitation to footballers of all ages for whom sarcasm and put-downs can be a way of life, a way of avoiding genuine emotional contact with other human beings.

Given how this incident has grown out of all proportion and become so bitterly personal, urgent action is needed.  Otherwise the message that it’s fine to express anger through the prism of racial intolerance will gain credence as the phrase “f..b..c..” enters daily use. This already seems to be the case in the world of football.

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John Terry and the Case for Sarcasm

Ex-England captain John Terry was cleared last week of the charges against him. Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle said it was possible that Terry’s words were not intended as an insult, but rather as a challenge to what he believed had been said to him.

It seems that the case boils down not to what was said but how John Terry  said it. Here are two possibilities – he said it “confrontationally” or he said it “sarcastically”. The first implies guilt according to the magistrate; the latter was the basis for his acquittal.

Had I been called as an expert witness, this is what I would have said: “Sarcasm is a form of angry behaviour. We use sarcasm when we are ourselves feeling angry yet we are not willing to express our anger overtly. Thus we use words which are designed to get a reaction but say them in a way which enables us to appear blameless and to avoid responsibility for our behaviour. Its purpose is to create anger in the other person covertly, to get them to express the anger that the sarcastic person is feeling but not expressing openly. Sarcasm is what we refer to in my profession as ‘anger through the back door’ “.

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How Lendl and Tears will see Murray through

Andy Murray’s display yesterday was a sign of a huge step in his development as a man. When he burst into tears the world looked on in shock. Suddenly this slightly petulant and not altogether attractive young man was showing himself in a different light. No one could help but be moved.

A lot has been said and written about Murray, the “weight of history” and expectation he carries for the great British public. Less attention has been paid to the weight of his own personal history. There have been two defining events in Murray’s life, the Dunblane Massacre and the divorce of his parents. Murray avoids mention of Dunblane and has said: “It’s obviously weird to think you had a murderer in your car, sitting next to your Mum. That is probably another reason why I don’t want to look back at it.  It was something my brain couldn’t cope with. I could have been one of those children”. He hid in a classroom. What young brain could have coped with such a traumatic event?

Children develop mechanisms to cope with extreme trauma and some  victims may need to keep trauma buried not just to reduce suffering but to promote survival. This survival mechanism becomes ingrained and we carry it with us into adult life. In Andy Murray’s case he appears to have created a “shell”, a container for his feelings in order to survive at the cost of appearing what we might call “human”.

It is likely that this shell was reinforced by the further trauma of parental divorce in his teenage years. In my experience all children take parental separation hard and find their own ways to survive. The typical child response to trauma is anger, sometimes hidden and sometimes overt. In Murray’s case it normally appears between points in his grimaces and fist clenchings. This is energy lost to him when in play. It is an excess, an overflow and is destabilising to his game.

The effort of containing his anger which is indeed part of his “humanity” may  have proved overwhelming at key times in his career, typically  a year ago when, one set up against Nadal in the Wimbledon semi-final he missed a forehand to open court. From being the aggressor and the favourite, he deflated in moments and his energy disappeared. Kevin Mitchell in the Observer claimed today that “so tight are his emotions they strangle his talent, that anxiety floods his limbs”. This illustrates exactly what often happens to Murray.

Above a certain level of anger your performance will decrease as an extreme level of arousal can lead to a lack of awareness and attention outside of oneself. In terms of anger this can correspond to the “red mist”, at the extreme we lose all sense of relationship with other people and with the outside world. The key to dealing with this is to find a way of staying in the present. Working point by point it is much harder to go into the downward spiral of self-criticism, disappointment and anger turned on yourself. There are techniques available to achieve this for all of us and they can be life changing as we allow ourselves to live in the present and let the past and future look after themselves.

A key difference for Murray may have been the appointment of Ivan Lendl in his “quasi paternal” role. It has been reported that Lendl gives relatively little “verbal” advice. In sport there is no substitute for looking as the most powerful form of learning.  Murray looks over at Lendl and takes in a body image of stillness and containment. This is constantly reinforced throughout the match – it is a form of coaching not covered in the rules, coaching through body shape. By modelling containment Lendl is coaching Murray at the deepest level, one that words cannot access.

The key for Andy Murray as he has begun to show is that he needs to stay in the present. Yesterday Murray showed far less of the anger displays we have seen in the past. He was the most “in charge” of himself we have ever seen him.

In anger we often relive our past or experience our fear of the future. By staying in the present we can avoid falling into old and undermining judgements of ourselves. Andy Murray, with Lendl at his side is experiencing a new relationship with himself and is more likely than ever to achieve his first Grand Slam. As he put it himself when asked about the Olympics, “I will only resume work when my mind is right”.  Murray’s tears were important, not for the audience but for how he is in himself. This is the key to sporting success. Murray gave himself permission to show his feelings without fear of what others will think. He said “I’m getting closer”. For this I salute him.

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WHY ENGLAND NEED PSYCHOLOGICAL HELP

Human beings have no real use in the world. Were we all to disappear in an instant the earth would slowly rebalance itself. Over time global warming would stop, buildings and cities would be taken over by forest, animals would roam through the terrain of the concrete jungle and no being would be sufficiently sentient to chronicle this.

Over the centuries we have struggled to come to term with our fundamental uselessness, trying to explain our existence and our unique gifts through religion art and philosophy. Bizarrely the more we know about ourselves, the secrets of the atom, genetics, the universe the more we become aware of our insignificance, the more we desperately yearn to know that “we are not alone” in the universe, that we have a purpose, a reason for being.

This yearning manifests in anxiety – about death, isolation, freedom and meaninglessness. It pervades every chink of our consciousness, every channel every substrate of our being. It is with us day and night, year in and year out. It pervades every thought, very breath and every action.

We seek to find meaning in all our experiences and all our behaviours. We fight for a cause andwe do our best. Even if we lose “it is the taking part” that counts. We struggle against the odds. Yet, at the end we find ourselves in a cul de sac without meaning.

Without meaning we have no purpose and in this sorry place we find the England football team and English football in general. These young men, in another era would have earned a meagre shilling or would have been sent to fight real battles in the Somme, Normandy and the Western desert.

In our troubled and unpredictable world, it seems people find safety and identity in identification with our young athletes. They embody our sense of belonging, of being part of something meaningful when our material wealth is found out, its shallowness exposed day after day in the manipulations of the Libor rate, the phone hacking scandals and the inconsistencies of our rulers.

We expect so much from our young lions, hope, comfort from the fragility of our dreams and our lost expectations. This is not just about us English, but at this time we, the English suffer. This is why English footballers need help. It is no longer fair to ask them to carry the burden of our hopes and dreams when they are so patently unequipped. After the show, after the failure they retreat to their gilded hideaways to emerge in time for the next big pay packet, protected by the tinted glass of the Ferrari and the Porsche. In a way I do not blame them. Their inheritance of shame is embodied and continued in the series of penalty shoot outs. They carry our tradition heavily on their shoulders. As Gareth Southgate said “our penalty history has an impact on the whole nation”. To true and they are ill equipped to cope.

There can be light at the end of the tunnel. It is important that the new young players such as Jack Wilshire and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain are not sucked into this old way of thinking and laden with the same burdens, expected to be the latest saviours. Just witness Andy Murray, backed by the crowd but burdened by a nation he does not necessarily recognise as his own.

I still believe that the reintroduction of Wayne Rooney, through no fault of his own, disturbed the psychological balance which had been established in the team through the undue focus on him as a saviour, a new Pele.  The call for six Jack Wilshires will place an intolerable burden on his young shoulders as we seek a new Saint Christopher to carry us when Rooney has been swept away in a tide of disappointment. As long as we keep looking for saviours for our team and for our national sense of well being we too will be disappointed and will continue to squander the potential of our young men on the football field. It is not war, it is a shame for all of us. Let us start anew while expectations are low. Let us humbly learn from Spain and from the unexpected albeit brief rising of the Italian footballing phoenix.

The task of a psychologist or therapist, someone such as myself is to help these young men find a sense of meaning, to help them throw off the burden we impose on them, to help them find their inner self belief and to manage themselves so that at the key moment they do not overwhelm and collapse in front of the opposing goalkeeper. There are techniques to be taught and attitudes to be explored that can, over time, liberate our young men to play freely without choking. These go beyond the conventional anxiety inventories and psychological skills tests.  Each young player would benefit from open dialogue and exploration of their way of viewing the world along with techniques for better coping with anxiety and pressure.

In my own work I have witnessed how young men and people under pressure can make changes in their lives through a simple examination of attitudes and meanings. It is not rocket science but it takes time, sensitivity and dedication. It requires a different discussion for each person in addition to teamwork. With quiet self confidence and ability to “be with” yourself” comes the possibility of enhanced co-operation and sharing with others.  It starts within and this is the work that needs to be done.

Gareth Southgate is right when he wonders why such help is made use of in every other sport but football is somehow separate. Now appears to be the time. There is a place for the “Theatre of Dreams” but it is time for our young men to come down back to earth and learn how to manage their own hopes and expectations leaving ours a little behind when they are on the field of play. There is no question that the English football team are as fit and could be as skilled as any other, it is their attitude to themselves that we need to work with.

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WILL SPAIN OR ITALY WIN TODAY? A CLASH OF ORGANISMS

How can we predict the outcome of today’s Euro final? My own feeling is that “unpredictable” results show that in the end we can never completely override the essential feature of being human – our variability and changeability. No amount of training can take that away for ever.

Think of an athlete as a system. In order to reach peak performance that system has to find a balance, a homeostasis where it is operating at peak not only over one match but over a period of weeks in order to achieve at the highest level. Homeostasis is the property of a system to regulate its internal environment, for example – temperature. As mammals we humans need to regulate internally yet have a relationship with the external environment. We are “endothermic” and seek to maintain a constant temperature whatever the environment we find ourselves in, whatever climatic variations we encounter. In fact we can only survive if we do so.

An athlete faces this same task at an extreme level day to day. On the practice pitch and courts he repeats the same action again and again in order to impress it into muscle memory, to create powerful neuron paths so they will “know” exactly how to survive and how to react in a given situation. The task is even more complex for a team which seeks to bind – in football say – 11 individuals into one organism working and regulating as a unit or similarly for a racing driver and his car.

The extreme difficulty of this task can be seen in the problems Jenson Button has faced this season with the setup of his car. Button and Hamilton have similar cars , they are merely  pieces of machinery and should be predictable in their behaviour. Yet each car is a finely tuned and complex system. A change at one end can have unpredictable consequences somewhere else. Once the car has been setup up it is then required to integrate itself with the driver, who represents another, much more unpredictable system. The hope is that the combination will synergise and work as one and Buttons results this season show how a solution has evaded him and his technical team so far this season.

A football team is a complex organism that will create its own internal balance, a balance which helps it best survive and face the interface with the outside world – the opposing team. This can be shown in the contrast between the Spanish and Italian football teams. For the Spanish maximum effectiveness/survival is found in an approximately equal balance between the players, in constant repeated rhythms which wear down the opponent until a break appears.

This is the core of Del Bosque’s philosophy. The team create a regulated stable platform, a crucible to support the moments of magic provided by Iniesta, Fabregas, Torres. The players have ingrained the ability to pass, to hold the ball when surrounded by opposition – see the incredible photos of Iniesta in the group stage surrounded by five Croatians and Italians – and to work as one. http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2012/jun/29/euro-2012-andres-iniesta-spain. The Italian system on the other hand is based round on  an axis of two players. The regulator is Pirlo, focused, thinking, dominating the centre and spreading passes two the more erratic genius of Cassano, Balotelli and Diamante.

Italy’s victory over Germany was an example of this system working at its peak. Much has been written about Balotelli, suffice to say that he in particular was able to contain, to regulate and focus with efficiency and clinical play. With Balotelli regulating himself, the larger organism  – the team – was able to create homeostatic balance with devastating results for the Germans and their much admired system.

Who will win today? These two systems could not be more different, they represent markedly different solutions to the problem of homeostasis and organismic survival on the football field. I would be reluctant to stereotype this as a clash between the predictability of the Spanish, their ability to grind down their opponents and the freedom of expression of the Italians.  There is a virtuosity in the Spanish team working as an organism which no other team has been able to achieve in the history of football but it is not focused on any one individual. It represents a different way of “being”, a humility and a community of purpose from which we could a take lessons in our own lives.

With the Italians we think about personality and the “big” individuals. It makes for a fantastic prospect.  I don’t know any more than anyone else who will win, but be sure that this represents a struggle  between two ways of “being” that  hugely overrides any sterotypes about similarities between Latin cultures.

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If Rooney’s Our Pele, I Want My Money Back!

The deadly combination of over arousal and under regulation reared its head again yesterday. This combined with excessive level of hope and expectation led to the sad display we witnessed on the pitch in Ukraine. Both the England team and the nation were left exposed and disappointed.  This experience will undoubtedly add to the questions about our nation’s sense of belonging and collective self-esteem.

Where did Gerrard disappear to during the match? How could substitute Theo make so little difference? As for Rooney being our Pele. I can’t help feeling that the weight of expectation on this young man weighed heavily on him and may even have disrupted the balance in the whole team. I felt the sense of collective gloom as the two Ashley’s fired their blanks, draining away final drops of hope and optimism.

The Yerks-Dodson Law, that empirical relationship between arousal and performance remains immutable. When we are over-aroused, the “positive anger” that drives us gets out of control, we become anxious and enter a state of internal “collapse”. The commands from brain to body become less efficient, simple programed behaviours become an effort and we underperform.

Who is not familiar with the “butterflies” which can cause our expected and programmed responses to break down as if they were never there? I believe that the whole team, with the possible exception of Joe Hart, suffered from both cognitive and bodily anxiety ie worried thoughts and a loss of bodily control and regulation. This was the result of a wave of expectation and hope and the physical expression of anxiety through the body.

We seem collectively unable to resist the hope expressed through our team that England – as a nation – could produce something positive, exciting, valuable to the world. In the first fifteen minutes it seemed the dream was going to happen, yet slowly, inexorably that familiar wave of “learned helplessness” seemed to overtake us. You only have to witness Roy Hodgson’s body language slumped in his chair.

There has been much mention of the England team’s “ego”. This is a misuse of the word. Our English boys suffer from under regulation, their egos seem under formed both individually and collectively. As a consequence they are able to achieve moments of explosive brilliance but not to sustain themselves.

It is hard to believe that one for one, in terms of pure talent, the Italian players are better than either Gerrard, Rooney or Hart. Yet, even as a mediocre team compared to Spain, Germany or previous Italian teams, they seemed to have in them a belief that kept them going and kept them solid.

Pirlo was the master, in charge at every moment, dominating and controlling the whole game. He is reputedly a quiet man of few words and appears to hold his emotions internally. In this way he is able to regulate himself and control his level of “arousal”, his positive anger output. Pirlo regulates himself and is able to lead the team on the pitch and control the pace of the game, spreading his passes and dictating the play.

By contrast Rooney seems less formed inside himself. Think of him as a building with girders that are over flexible. He is reliant on bursts of explosive energy to achieve his moments of inspiration but less able to regulate himself over the course of a whole match. The burden of expectation weighs heavily on him and the comparison to Pele was undoubtedly an error of judgment.

We experience an English culture which lacks the self-belief to nurture us, a dependence on history, antiquated symbolism and “God Save the Queen”.  By contrast the Italian national anthem says, “Let us band together, we are ready to die, Italy has called us”. I couldn’t help but feel uplifted when they sang.

Thus it is likely that the roots of yesterday’s failure lie not in the shortness of Hodgson’s tenure prior to the Euros or the toughness of the Italians but in individual and collective expectation.

I imagine each England team member will retreat into the bosom of their multi-million pound home and take comfort from the material environment which will gradually help them forget yet another dismal failure.

Yet for the rest of us, we have once again given up hope and with that a bit more pride in our national team.  And with that, the anger will slowly rise.

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Why England MUST get angry to win Euro 2012

 

 

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Why England Must Relax to Win Euro 2012

 

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Nalbandian – Anger gets the Rap?

David Nalbandian has past form for on court incidents, but this latest episode at Queens makes him now more famous than at any time in his career. As usual anger gets the rap. We only seem to discuss anger when it is manifest in BAD behaviour, typically McEnroe, Agassi, Serena Williams, Barton, Rooney and others.

There is more to the story however.  In the state of anger we are pumping hormones that give us the ability to perform at our very peak, to some degree we are in survival mode. Think of this as a nuclear power plant, there is a very delicate balance. When properly cooled and regulated we benefit from a huge amount of energy to support our lives and our activities.  When regulation breaks down the energy starts to fly out of control and disasters happen.

Sport is no different and many hours are put into teaching top athletes to manage this energy. Yet sometimes it overflows. Typically this is when a sportsperson is under high pressure and their level of anger/arousal goes over the limit. Going over the top can reduce the performance of an athlete as a system when they become overloaded. A system designed to function best at 80% is being asked to run at 100%. This is unsustainable.

Some athletes struggle more than others to manage themselves as a system and the result is seen in patterns of behaviour throughout their career. When they are in control they are sublime, when not, anything can happen. It is no surprise to find that Nalbandian was thrown out of the Vina del Mar tournament in Chile 10 years ago for verbally abusing a linesman.

Conversely, athletes such as Tiger Woods regulate themselves so tightly that no hint of emotion is detected until they implode emotionally and physically. They overload due to the pressure of events, internally lose their structure and give way. Once this has happened it is more difficult to regain their former composure and state of balance.

Behaviour extremes are the result of not being able to regulate oneself effectively.  They are often the symptom of underlying issues for the individual concerned. Both the individual issues and the behaviours associated with them can be addressed with professional help.

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How England Can WIN Euro 2012

 

 

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COULD ROONEY’S RETURN WRECK OUR CHANCES?

We BEAT Sweden! The defence was ropey and we conceded the very headed goals we planned (and did) score against Sweden. At 1-2 down we were all groaning: “Same old England, here we go again”. Then – incredibly – on came Theo and everything changed.  Remember how Sven dragged him along at the last minute, remember the disaster of South Africa for the whole team. Yet yesterday in two touches Theo had transformed the game. Less expectation, less stress, less fear and rigidity in muscles and brain – gooallll!!

But here is my fear – and let me first state my admiration for Wayne Rooney both as a footballer and as a developing human being. This team seems to be finding a balance between the enthusiasm of youth as embodied in Carroll and Welbeck and the experience of John Terry at the other extreme.  Now – against Croatia we anticipate the return of the star, the one big star. How can Hodgson fit him in without changing the shape of the team both on the field and psychologically?

I can’t help thinking that perhaps his suspension was in the end a blessing for England. It is popular wisdom that Rooney is central to the England team linking midfield and attack. It is hard to forget his sending off after appearing to stamp on the groin of Ricardo Carvalho and then push Cristiano Ronaldo in 2006.

It is also well known that he has an “anger problem”.  In the Montenegro match with England leading and safe for qualification, Rooney lashed out 17 minutes from time in an otherwise unexceptional incident. We need to understand this behaviour as a symptom of something deeper inside. What is the nature of this problem whereby a thoughtless yet deliberate action led to an undermining of England’s chances in the World Cup and in the European Championships?

Anger can be displaced, we have mechanisms whereby we can hold our anger in certain situations but in others the controls let us down. Rooney was only informed that his father and uncle had been arrested after he touched down in Podgorica.

What is he carrying into the match with Croatia?  The truth is that watching him on the touchline I imagine in his expression the frustration of not being involved but also a focus and a commitment to the team. It is likely that he will replace Andy Carroll despite that brilliant headed goal. Carroll committed two fouls in the first 90 seconds and it was his offence that led to Sweden’s equaliser. Maybe Carroll is the wild card at this stage of his career whereas Rooney has not been sent off or red carded once for Manchester United the whole season.

I live in hope that we will see the best of Wayne Rooney against Croatia and into the next round. There has been a lot of focus on his past behaviour but it is worth mentioning that Ronaldo’s windup and “the wink” represent a form of angry behaviour. It was designed to get a reaction from a young Rooney and it worked. This was six years ago. I believe Rooney has matured, moved on and that the incident against Montenegro was exceptional. Though Fabio Capello had insisted Rooney was in the right frame of mind to play in Podgorica, he must have been carrying concern and worry about his father’s recent arrest for betting irregularities.

Ronaldo’s windup is what we call “ anger through the back door” ie. getting someone to express our own anger for us. It is a very common in young men between 15-25 and at that age we are also very susceptible to it. Our reactions can become a defense of who we are and we are not resilient enough, particularly when the adrenaline is pumping, to let these things go.

Rooney seems in a better place now to manage his reaction and his emotions. If he can come into the team with focus and humility, if he can control his urge to prove himself, I believe he can shine and England can win again.

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WITH LOWER EXPECTATIONS ENGLAND CAN WIN

Today I read that Anders Svensson of Sweden believes that English arrogance explains their past poor record against Sweden. It is true that in past tournaments England have been under huge pressure of expectation. Year after year the national team is branded the “golden” generation bigged up by the tabloids and broadsheets alike. “We can win” scream the newspaper headlines as dregs of our imperial past return to haunt us.

It is this expectation that has created huge and unreasonable pressure on the teams of young millionaires we send to represent our national aspirations. They take to the field pumped up with anger, adrenaline and fear of losing both for themselves and for the country. But hey – it’s only football.

Yet it has been so much more than that. So this time round let’s breathe a sigh of relief. For once there is no big star in the team – at least while Rooney is out. There is to some degree a level playing field and we have a quiet leader in Steven Gerrard who is not known – with one notable exception – for his antics off the pitch.

Arguably his leadership at the World Cup was undermined because he knew himself to be a replacement for Rio, not with the full confidence of the manager. This time he is the first choice and maybe this will help him in his role.

What is more, the manager is not a big name with big expectations. Roy Hodgson is in many ways the quiet man of English football. Yes he is an English manager too. He is not the Swedish superstar we saw in Sven.  He is not the angry Italian we saw in Capello pacing the touchline red in the face and brandishing his fists. He appears quiet, modest and gets on with the job.

Thus we have a team and a manager probably more in the real world than at any time since 1966. We wish them well but have no unrealistic expectation for them. In a way I welcomed the draw with France. It is a good result and I cannot help thinking that a win would have landed the nation – and the team – back in the pool of unrealistic expectation.

When we set the bar too high there is a physical effect. We become tense and rigid. Our muscles contract and are less able to respond to our wishes. With lower expectation we can form our muscles so they are firm but fluid rather than overcharged and going past the adrenaline threshold at which our performance decreases.

Moderate emotional arousal allows us to perform at our peak, to use our muscles with firmness and fluidity rather than be hijacked by anticipation and excess expectation.

Moderate expectation means we do not become rigid from stress and sabotage ourselves on the field of play. England may not win but I believe they can do well as long as we don’t put pressure on them to be the best.

Paradoxically this is their best chance.

 

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