England needs to change its ways or be left behind. The difference in technical ability between England and top teams has become so wide, England are left with two options. 1 – Accept that we are just a top 10 side at best and that’s our place in world football or 2 – Re-educate the country on football.
Coaching young players properly
It isn’t just a case of telling the current crop of players to play like Spain. They haven’t been brought up playing this way; it is not natural for them to keep the ball under pressure. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on ball retention and technique. The FA must re-educate right the way up. The coaches need to be re-coached with the main objective of making players comfortable on the ball. Currently coaches are too concerned on winning games and not developing technical ability. With so much based on winning, English players suffer from fear of failure. Player’s don’t want the ball, as they are worried they will make a mistake. Spanish and Dutch coaches focus more on development than on the result. If players aren’t focussing on the result they come more relaxed on the ball and then technical ability can be improved. When the young players become older this will be natural. When games get tight, natural technical ability allows better technical players to keep the ball under pressure. The FA have announced smaller sided games for younger players, this will benefit them as they will touch the ball more. It is important that players are taught to want the ball. How many touches young players have during a match should be more important than the result. Leagues and results are important but at an older age. The young player must learn the basics before they compete.
Change Fan’s out-dated understanding
One of the hardest jobs the FA needs to do is re-educating the fans. Currently English fans want to see passion and commitment over technique and composure. Then when England gets outclassed technically, the team are slated. For too long a big tackle has been cheered more than a piece of skill. When club teams in England play backwards to retain possession, the fans get restless and urge there team forward. The top countries have proved you sometimes have to go back to go forward, you definitely can’t score if you haven’t got the ball. Football has changed from being physical to being technical. English fan’s understanding of football is outdated. Being the creators of Football, English fans have dragged their heels when change has been involved. The fans need to be patient and allow a new breed of technical players to develop.
Club or Country?
The Premier League is considered by many to be the best league in the world. Time has come for the FA to decide if they want the best league in the world or the best national team in the world. More English players need to be playing in the Premier League as the numbers are dropping. Producing world-class players involves giving them a chance to play at the top level. How about change the rules of team selection. Every team has to include at least 7 English players in their match day squad. A team could even put 7 players on the bench but should a change be needed they would get a chance. The top quality players would still play, so the premier league wouldn’t lose its quality but managers would look to its youth team and English players before looking to bring in foreign squad players. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on playing English players in the ENGLISH premier league.
Can England Catch up?
There is going to be no short-term fix. England needs to look 6-8 years down the line. Spain needs to be seen as the example. Before 2006 the Spanish weren’t even close to winning a major tournament and now they are huge favourites every match. Coaching the young players must to done NOW. I also believe the Premier League should bring in rules to encourage English players to be playing in the top league. If you were the FA would you risk the best league in world to improve the National team?
Thank you for reading.