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The England National Team’s Conundrum

The England football team continues to enrage football fans as we search in answer as to what is the key to international success. It is always easy to criticise but after longing for international success at a major tournament for over 50 years many fans still seek the answer. Is it down to the player’s attitude, their lust for money over success, their loyalty to their club or are they simply not good enough?

Fans continue to support the national team but show strain and frustration but who can blame them. The so called “golden generation” have let them down time after time. Yet, their loyalty remains an ever-present.

As England fans we expect the best football and the best players on show. In the Premier League this is the case as we arguably have the best league in which match results are generally close. But many believe the glitz and glamour of the Premier League is dominated by foreign experts, which are shipped in and overshadow the English youth system. Academies slip down the pecking order and fans rightly question whether enough is done at grass roots level and elite level to see home-grown talent excel.

Premier League clubs often purchase already well known names in hope that they can go straight into the first team. This approach deprives the opportunity of a youngster getting the chance at the top of English Football and may even stunt their development. Players like Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, David Silva et al. These have proved great additions to their teams over the last few years but have created a climate in which English clubs would rather pay for a player in which they already have proven ability than help develop youngsters through coaching at academies.

This creates a selection dilemma for the national team in which they have few players to choose from and some of the players simply don’t have the quality. Some players get in the team on reputation alone, and because they have been there before. It wouldn’t surprise me if even the recently retired David Beckham somehow got a mention to be selected for the World Cup in Brazil if we qualify.  This laughable suggestion just shows how far we have fallen when we are relying on hard working players like James Milner to help get us to the later rounds of competitions.

Fans may disagree with this view entirely but how can we compete at the benchmark of world football when teams like Spain have a bench which consists of Juan Mata, Santi Cazorla, David Villa and Cesc Fabregas et al. The production of English talent needs to accelerate as well as how selectors choose players. Every player should earn a place on their form, but how can Danny Welbeck justify a place in attack after scoring one goal all season when players like Rickie Lambert scored fifteen. The fact that Welbeck was included in the running for PFA Young Player was a travesty.

The best way we can move forward is a radical overall of how scouts spot talent and run trials in England. From personal experience if you performed a fancy flick or trick selectors would gaze in amazement and ask for your name. They would not watch the whole game and quickly fail to spot the consistent performers who never put a foot wrong.  The whole process was flawed and would undermine and crush confidence of many of the participants who clearly had talent and potential.

If England are to one day be a success we need to stop trying to adopt approaches similar to Spain, Brazil and Germany. We play a different style and should hone in on our own teams strengths. England teams have always been glittered with talent. Yet we have embarrassingly for many years failed. It is not down to one fault in one generation.  The entire country has continually heaped pressure on the team and that has helped ensure they falter. This has become evident through are hideous records against the major teams in international football. Also shown through are attempts at trying to win penalty shoot outs.

The football association need to learn fast before we are left behind, even further away from winning an international tournament. Money can’t buy us the success we long for. At youth level a back to basics approach is need. The mentalities of English footballers need to develop if we are to improve and select the best squad groups. They need to have time to settle, grow and develop and not be signposted early on as the key to England stepping up and winning the world cup. This ultimately is effecting youth levels of the national set up with players who can compete for the under 21’s such as Oxlade Chamberlain solely being pushed into the senior international set up which may affect their career for club and country.

My belief is that England will need to restructure from the bottom up and show they care about football in this country before we fall even further behind are competitors. We have the best stadiums, the best talent worldwide, the best supporters and best facilities. Now we need to see the best International team.

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