Arsène Wenger has offered English football a ray of hope at the end of a depressing week.
While most of us are still haunted by despondency after Steve McClaren's side failed to reach Euro 2008, the Arsenal manager has suggested the early exit could help England's chances in the 2010 World Cup.
But it will take "deep thinking" from the FA and not just the knee-jerk appointment of a new manager.
The Frenchman would be not specific but he likened England's situation to France in the 1990s. They failed to qualify for USA 94 after a desperate last-game defeat at home but then stormed back to win France 98 and Euro 2000.
"I don't think it is a disaster," he told
Arsenal.com. "But it is a massive disappointment. It is up to
England to see how they respond to the situation now. Immediately,
in the present, it is a massive handicap. On the future for the
World Cup 2010 it can be an advantage if the right measures are
"I don't want to come out and say what I think these measures should be but I feel the FA need deep thinking for what happened and find solutions. They can't just appoint a new coach and think England will win the World Cup in 2010.
"After France failed to qualify in 1994 [manager] Gerard Houllier was straight away sacrificed in a little bit of a similar game. That is a good example for England [because] the France players that lost then became World Champions. Not all but most. Petit, Deschamps played in this game and they became World Champions and European Champions afterwards. That is what I mean - don't slaughter the players because the England national team has good players."Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 23 Nov 2007