Where now for England?

England under Fabio Capello looks ineffective and short of ideas. The team might scramble to qualify for the European Championship but expecting anything more would be sheer stupidity, writes Brian Glanville.

Watching England ultimately fumble their way to a Wembley draw against the modest but combative Swiss, it was all too plain that Fabio Capello has lost his way. True, he was deprived of the presence of his few outstanding players. Wayne Rooney was suspended, Liverpool's ever versatile Steven Gerrard was absent injured.

Yet several of his choices and tactical decisions seemed inconsistent and predictably misfired. How, above all, could he omit Ashley Young, the highly versatile winger or striker in exuberant recent form for Aston Villa, though now off to Manchester United, until half-time. As soon as Young came on, operating “in the hole” behind a previously isolated Darren Bent, England began to shake off their torpor and turn the tide of play.

We had been told that Capello's formation would be 4-3-3 but wasn't. Both inadequate wingers, James Milner, not even able to command a place in the Manchester City team, and the in and out Theo Walcott, were coming, when they came at all, from deep. In fact when the most dangerous cross by England in the limp first-half came, Darren Bent himself moved out to the left flank and pulled the ball across without getting the response he deserved. Though all he deserved after an appalling late right-footed boot-over-the-bar miss when he should have won England the game, was permanent international exclusion.

Stewart Downing had also been in excellent form on Villa's right flank yet he would not be deployed until far too late in the game to make a true impact. And you wondered why Tottenham's swift and effective right winger Aaron Lennon wasn't even on the bench. And to his dismay Tottenham's Peter Crouch.

Now Crouch though he has scored a great many international goals has never seemed to me the real thing as a striker at this level. Rather as a supreme rabbit killer getting his goals against lesser opposition.

Yet what possible logic could there have been in excluding him completely yet choosing among the unused substitutes Fulham striker Bobby Zamora who, as his own then manager Mark Hughes had recently declared, was still contesting with a persistent injury that limited him to an hour a match at most?

And alas, the curse of England's goalkeepers persists. Both the Swiss goals were embarrassingly conceded by Joe Hart, each from in-swinging free kick by the wily Barnetta. The first curled past Hart into his left-hand corner, though he may have been confused when Rio Ferdinand lunged in vain at the ball. The second free kick by way of contrast squeezed in low and embarrassingly at Hart's near post though Milner admitted that his bizarre decision to move out of the wall contributed substantially.

What is it though about England's goalkeepers? In South Africa last year when England met the U.S.A. in the World Cup, a ghastly error by Robert Green allowed an indifferent shot from Clint Dempsey to go past him into the goal.

Against Croatia in Zagreb, Paul Robinson allowed Phil Neal's backpass to roll over his foot and over the goal-line. At Wembley, Scott Carson's error gave the Croatians an equally farcical goal. As matters stand, it is hard to see where the next adequate England keeper is coming from.

David “Calamity” James' nickname wasn't earned for nothing as there are horrid memories of his disastrous blunders in Vienna and Copenhagen while playing for his country.

Even the imposing David Seaman, in his latter England career, was twice guilty of alarming errors. In the World Cup of 2006 in Japan, he was hopelessly at sea when Ronaldinho's insidious free kick swung past him to equalise for Brazil. And in Southampton he was beaten, playing against a humble Macedonia, directly from a corner.

Go back to Mexico and the 1970 World Cup, and you find poor Peter Bonetti, standing in at Leon against West Germany for Gordon Banks, who may or may not have been deliberately food-poisoned on the eve of that quarterfinal, giving away at least two comfortably avoidable goals; England's 2-0 lead melting away.

Overall, at Wembley, the Swiss looked a far more co-ordinated team than England, though the presence of two fallible centre backs, Arsenal associations past and present, Djourou and Senderos, allowed England a chance, not to mention a penalty.

Montenegro, level on points in the group with England though behind on goal difference, threw away a fine chance to steal a march on England, being held to a home draw by a Bulgarian team which had nothing to play for. England visit Montenegro in October.

I have a feeling that, one way or another, with Rooney and Gerrard back, England will scramble into the European Championship finals, though with Capello in charge, it's hard to fancy their chances.