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‘A masterful work…it could be the best thing to have happened to English football in years’ TIME OUT

‘[A] thought-provoking reappraisal of ten key games in England’s football history … this book should be required reading for all future England squads’ INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

Having invented the game, everything that has followed for England and its national football team has been something of an anticlimax. There was, of course, the golden summer of 1966, and the great period of English dominance on the world stage, which fell roughly between 1886 and 1900, when England won 35 of their 40 internationals … But before long foreign teams, with their insistence on progressive ‘tactics’, began to pose a few questions. And much of what followed for England constituted a series of false dawns.

In THE ANATOMY OF ENGLAND Jonathan Wilson seeks to place the bright spots in context. Time and again, progressive coaches have been spurned by England – technique being all very well, but what really matters is pluck and ‘organised muscularity’, or, to quote Jimmy Hogan’s chairman at Aston Villa in 1936: ‘I’ve no time for these theories about football. Just get the ball in the bloody net.’

Wilson takes ten key England fixtures and explores how what actually happened on the pitch shaped the future of the English game. Bursting with insight and critical detail, yet imbued with a wry affection, this is a history of England like none before.

Reviews

Bursting with insight and critical detail, yet imbued with a wry affection, this is a history of England like none before.
LIVING NORTH
Wilson belongs alongside David Goldblatt and the daddy of them all, Brian Glanville, in the triumvirate of great British football historians
FINANCIAL TIMES
A masterful work...it could be the best thing to have happened to English football in years
TIME OUT
[A] thought-provoking reappraisal of ten key games in England's football history ... this book should be required reading for all future England squads
INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
Absorbing in detail...By analysing 10 England matches which sum up the prevailing ethos in the English game, Wilson's forensic examination of events on the bench are lent a broader context and perspective
FOURFOURTWO