Martin Smith column: The myth of England’s arrogance

England's Dele Alli (centre) in action with Iceland's Ragnar Sigurdsson (left) and Kari Arnason during the Round of 16 match at Stade de Nice
England's Dele Alli (centre) in action with Iceland's Ragnar Sigurdsson (left) and Kari Arnason during the Round of 16 match at Stade de Nice
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“We’re all Welsh now, aren’t we lads…?”

Riding sheepishly on the coat-tails of Chris Coleman’s team’s success in France isn’t the most dignified of positions for us red-faced English, but it’ll have to do.

A week has passed but England’s mental disintegration against Iceland - brought about to some extent by former Rotherham centre-half and occasional midfielder Kari Arnason - seems like it’s still happening.

It’s all about ‘Arrogant England’ again, the go-to cliché whenever opponents speak about our teams in any sport and used by us to self-harm in times of national sporting stress.

Gareth Bale mentioned it ahead of England’s win over Wales (remember that?), Australian sportsmen and women are brought up on it and BBC Five Live’s Alan Green was yesterday talking, in that gentle way of his, about the ‘arrogance’ Roy Hodgson displayed when he chose to go on a boat trip down the Seine instead of watching Iceland beat Austria from the stands so he could see first-hand how they played.

What? You mean he couldn’t see from TV replays, video analysis, scouting reports or from listening to any two blokes in any bar in France talking about the way Iceland play? Cobblers.

Every football fan in any pub in Sheffield who’d seen 10 minutes of any Iceland game knew that they were physical, well-organised, hit hard on the break and were dead-ball and throw-in experts. So ‘arrogant’ Roy going up the river sur L’alouette for the afternoon made no difference whatever to England hopes going up the Suwannee.

That’s not arrogance. It’s incompetence on an incomprehensible scale.

You could accuse the current England cricket team of arrogance in that they believe they are going to win every game, likewise the rugby union team.

But not the football team. They’re just not very good.

n Who’s this and what the hell is he talking about?

“They’ve gone 60-40”, “he’s put a bit of Swaz on that one,’ “Fatigueness.” TV pundit and former England manager Glen Hoddle, of course. The kind of bloke that seems interesting and knowledgeable - and is -then let’s something slip that tells you there is another world going on in his head apart from the one he shares with the rest of us.

As Radio Five’s Danny Baker said on Twitter: “If Glenn Hoddle was stuck next to you on a flight you’d be begging the flight crew to re-seat you next to the crying baby.”

Come on Wales…