You are the England manager and with 10 minutes remaining of a vital European Championships clash, your team is heading for another unceremonious first round exit.
Who will you choose to rescue the Three Lions?
Rooney, Charlton or Lineker?
DUE TO YOUR ABILITY TO TWIST TIME AND SPACE, the Football Association have turned to you (yes you) to replace Roy Hodgson and steer your country through Euro 2016 and deliver the glory which has evaded the nation for 50 years.
Yes, that’s right, update the lyrics to Three Lions, England have now suffered FIFTY years of hurt since 1966 and all that.
Picture yourself sitting on that bench in Marseille, the sun beating down on your cool, unfurrowed brow as you stand resplendent in your England blazer. No tie for you, just an open necked slim fit shirt. That’s how you roll and besides, it’s what Graham Taylor would have worn if they’d let him.
Like a footballing Doctor Who, you have access to a time machine and the ability to call on an England squad of players plucked from their absolute prime and available for selection.
You have Banks, you have Moore and you have Gascoigne at your disposal. You rested all three and chose Scott Carson, Emile Heskey and Alan Smith. No, not the blonde one, the other one.
“Do I not like that?”
With ten minutes left of England’s final first round group game, your side are trailing Iceland 1-0 and are facing elimination from France 2016. Make no mistake, you will not be popular to readers of the Sun and Daily Mail on your return to Blighty and may be better off arranging a low profile return.
As thoughts drift to Calais and a long walk through a long dark tunnel, you feel a smack round the face. It’s Big Lawrie McMenamy!
“Snap out of it boss! You have one substitution remaining and Lineker, Charlton and the lad Rooney are warmed up and ready to make an impact! COME ON BOSS WE CAN STILL WIN THIS!”
Of course he is!
But who do you choose?!
You stand, walk to the edge of your technical area and beckon Emile Heskey across using that spinny round hands thing football managers do when they want to make a substitution. Turning to the fourth official you tell him the name of the player you will be bringing on . . .
. . . Sir Bobby Charlton? If anybody can take the game by the scruff of the neck it’s 49 goal England legend and knight of the realm, Sir Robert of Charlton. Taking the ball from deep in his own half he will surge forward, beat 2 men with shear strength alone before slamming home an unstoppable shot from 45 yards out busting the net in the process.
. . . Gary Lineker? He’ll lead by example. Dependable, honest and capable of going down rather easily to win you a penalty. Perhaps England’s greatest ever striker. A natural goalscorer, the original “Fox in the Box” with a record of scoring important goals for his country. Get him the service, he’ll get you the goals you need. Plus, he can handle the post match interviews whilst you head to the bar.
. . . Wayne Rooney? Street smart with explosive technique and dynamism, he’ll play without inhibition whilst striking fear into the hearts of the opposition . Combustible, yes. Prone to drift from position in search of the ball? Oh yes, but if there’s one man who can come on and raise the tempo and create something from nothing it’s “Wazza” circa Euro 2004 (just before he did his foot in). Can he be trusted to deliver for you with ten minutes left?
So over to you boss, who would you rely on to get you out of a hole when England expects you to deliver?*
Will it be Wayne? Should you bring on Bobby? Or will you give golden Gary Lineker a chance?
VOTE HERE NOW!
*Remember, if all else fails, you still have that time machine and can go back and make your change again (bit like you do when you save the game before a big match on Football Manager – we’ve all done it), but for now, for this moment, the choice is yours.