Archive for the 'Football' Category

What’s wrong with England?

First of all, apologies for the delay in updating this. A mixture of too much work and too much World Cup.

Talking about the World Cup, why do England consistenly perform so badly? Euro 96 was the last time we actually met (or exceeded depending on who you are) our pre tournament expectations. That was 14 years ago, and even then we had home advantage. Since our exit to the Germans, there have been a lot of rumours flying around as to the issues with the England national team. Some think that they don’t show the passion of which they play with at club level. Others think that they play too much football. Personally if you ask me, it’s a lot simpler than that. I just don’t think that they’re good enough. Controversial admittedly, but there really hasn’t been a ‘Golden Generation’. Since Sky have come in and flooded our game with money, there’s no doubt that the fortunes of English clubs has improved drastically. However when you look at it, it’s only down to talented foreign imports a la Cantona and Bergkamp coming in and doing well. We’ve been happy to ‘chase the dream’ with short term fixes. Expensive imports have come in, done well and left. But there hasn’t been a sustained investment in youth. Admittedly this can’t really be applied across the board, as my favourite team Man Utd invested heavily in youth to promote the likes of Giggs, Scholes, Beckham, the Nevilles and Butt. They weren’t alone in this, and examples can be found with Arsenal and Everton to name a few, but this was definitely not the norm.

It’s not all gloom however. The talent is there in you youth teams. Our U21’s did get to the European Finals last year against the Germans, who fielded a similar team to the one that beat us on the weekend. And yes they also beat us. 4-0. But at least they got to the final… The main issue is that we’re not good enough technically. When you watch the Germans and any of the impressive South American teams left in the competition, they are all technically gifted. Beckenbauer, although lambasted for saying that we’re a kick and rush team was probably right. The only way we will improve is by going back to our youth system and placing the emphasis less on size and brawn, and more on technical ability, speed and intelligence. We’re already seeing a drain from our shores of top class foreign imports to the likes of La Liga. This is the perfect time to shore this gap with talented youngsters who maybe in the past didn’t get the chance to continue their development as they should have. Until then, it could just be 30 more years of hurt.

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