It’s a well known fact that England haven’t won anything since the glory days of 1966, yet they are still billed as a major nation and are always one of the favourites going into tournaments. In this article I will be investigating the reasons for this decline and I will also be giving some suggestions on how to improve the situation. After all who wouldn’t love to see their country lifting the world cup in front of a hundred thousand people, there is a long way to go before England can achieve that.
The first and most important reason for the constant underachievement is the Premier League. Yes you read that right, our own league is hampering the national team from progressing. The TV money poured into the league these days has enabled clubs to spend way beyond their means, every club wants to break into the top 4 due to the financial gains available therefore they just spend opulent amounts on transfers and wages in order to sign world superstars with little or no emphasis on youth development. Let’s take Chelsea’s signing of Bakayoko as an example. Chelsea needed a new midfielder so instead of giving a chance to one of their perfectly competent youngsters such as Loftus-Cheek and Chalobah they signed a 22 year old French man who has only had one season at the top level for 45 million, loaned out Loftus-Cheek to Palace and sold Chalobah to Watford.
You could argue that if the two youngsters were given a chance they could perform just as well as Bakayoko or even better, but such is the nature of the Premier League nowadays that the clubs immediate response was to go out and buy a new player. There is also little or no communication between the FA and the Premier League in terms of youth development as opposed to the other big nations. I saw a documentary recently about the German plan for youth development that was drawn up in 2009 and spanned till 2022. One of the most important points was the need for communication between the German Federation and clubs in the Bundesliga to bring up players to play in similar style of play which would help the national team in the long run. That’s why if you watched the German side that won the world cup, the second string team that won the confederations cup and the U21 side that won the U21 Euro’s you would see that they all played the same way.
The second major problem is coaching from a young age. English teams tend to favour strong quick players rather than technically gifted players as opposed to other major countries. This also hampers the national team as we often get showed up against big nations who keep the ball much better than us while we try to punt it up the pitch. Also the U23 leagues are useless and I feel they do more harm than they do good, players would be better off getting real match experience at a lower level than playing in a non competitive academy environment. The coaches should also try and implement a coaching style which is more modern at every club rather than encouraging defenders to hoof it, look at John Stones as an example he gets stick for overplaying yet if he was Spanish he would be applauded.
Another of the important factors is the Media pressure and expectation. The English media are the best when it comes to over hyping young players I would give you a list but it would just be too long. As soon as a young English player has a half decent season the media start branding him as the next Messi which can get to a young lad’s head and eventually end in the player flopping. The media are also engrossed in player’s lifestyle and they try to dig up dirt about every player for their next scoop which can be detrimental to the national team. Instead of supporting their players and helping them they try and deride and humiliate them.
Last but not least is the unprofessional lifestyle of some of the big England players. As you all know there is a big drinking culture in English football, English players have been caught on the piss a lot, often two or three days before the game which can hamper their fitness levels, also English players have been no strangers too sex scandals just take Wayne Rooney shagging a granny for example which can also affect the mindset of players and their ability to focus. For more recent examples look at Jack Wilshere smoking and Sterling getting legally high on holiday.
I think in order for England to be successful on the national stage there has to be a complete rebuild in terms of youth development and in the cooperation between the FA and the Premier League. There should be a blueprint which every team should follow in their academies in order to ensure that players are taught a certain style of play from a young age will help England in the long run. This might be controversial but I also think there should be rules that limit the amount of foreign signings you can make and the amount you can field in a starting XI to give more chances to young English players.
Here are some suggestions from West Ham legend Trevor Brooking on how to improve the national team to give an alternative view.
What do you think to these points? Let us know in the comments below!