BBC BLOGS - David Bond
« Previous | Main | Next »

Priorities must change for England to succeed

Post categories:

David Bond | 16:52 UK time, Monday, 25 June 2012

Euro 2012: Krakow

England left Krakow on Monday afternoon accompanied by the usual inquest into the national team's shortcomings.

Penalties again. The quarter finals again. Failure to keep the ball against better opponents again.

This is by now a well-trodden path and it is credit to the new England manager Roy Hodgson that he has even managed to come up to the England team's traditional par for big tournaments. I cannot help wonder what the national response would have been had Fabio Capello delivered this return.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

Yet six games into the job there is no question there is a lot to be positive about. Well-drilled and well-organised, England were hard to beat at Euro 2012.

More importantly perhaps the players seemed to enjoy playing for their country again. If you doubted this was the case in the past, one only has to recall Jamie Carragher's comments in his autobiography.

He wrote "I confess: defeats wearing an England shirt never hurt me in the same way as losing with my club."

But here it did seem to matter, a feeling summed up best by the way England captain Steven Gerrard - Carragher's team-mate at Liverpool - carried himself.

He and Hodgson seem to have formed a close bond during Euro 2012 - not quite Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower or Martin Johnson and Sir Clive Woodward - but the start of something which strikes a different tone to the one we became used to when John Terry had the armband. Gerrard has grown into the captaincy and if his legs can keep going he should lead the team again in Brazil (provided England qualify of course).

The poor image of England's footballers has not always been deserved. The overpaid, overhyped tag is an overused cliche but it also taps into a deeper sense of public resentment about the way failure seems to be so well rewarded in the national sport.

At least England's mission to be good tourists in Poland and Ukraine struck the right note - a touch of humility amplifying the greater sense of footballing realism so ably expressed by Hodgson, a great communicator.

The visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau leaps out as a moment when the Football Association finally understood its responsibilities beyond just shuttling millionaire players between five-star hotels and gleaming foreign stadiums.

Seeing Wayne Rooney visibly moved by the horror of the gas chambers and telling journalists how he had recently watched the World at War is a sign of growing maturity off the pitch, even if the old shortcomings exist on it.

The FA and its chairman David Bernstein deserve great credit for tackling that head on.

But the fundamental problems in the English game have not changed from South Africa two years ago.

That will take a lot, lot longer - and probably will not be solved by the time Hodgson's four-year contract has expired.

The National Football Centre and the new Youth Development Programme is a clear attempt to address the failings of the past decade. Bernstein says that in the future there will be more emphasis on small-sided matches, skill-based football, passing the ball and less focus on physicality.

That is the exact antithesis of the way England played in this tournament.

And while the game's authorities have made a start on changing the culture of the game with more money going into the academy system, the really nasty statistic in English football which needs urgent attention is that just over a third of the Premier League's players are English.

Hodgson says he is not convinced by the argument that the league fights the interests of the national team. He insisted there are enough capable English players in the system to fashion a good side.

But the announcement of the Premier League's new £3bn domestic TV deal with Sky and BT - timed with precision just before the group game against Sweden - provided a reminder of the English game's commercial imperatives.

Yes there will potentially now be more money for youth development. But in the relentless drive to keep TV companies and audiences around the world happy, how much importance will club chairmen place on recruiting young English talent with all that money for foreign superstars burning a hole in their pockets?

In the end England found their level at Euro 2012.

But until there is a greater balance in the system - a winter break, a limit on foreign players in the Premier League - then regardless of who the manager is or how the team conduct themselves, it is likely to be the same old story.


Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Very interesting article, but not really anything new (i guess that this is your point actually!)

    That England were outplayed is an understatement and there has in my opinion been too much focus on how bad we are on the ball. It can't have been all that hard for Italy to bang the ball around when they had absolutely no pressure on the person that was on the ball.

    We need to give some credit to the Italians for pressing our boys so well - they never had much time on the ball and that was the context in which they were found to be technically lacking. If we had pressed them rather than standing off, would it have been the same story in reverse.

    The bottom line is that we have a poor sporting administrative culture in this country, which feeds down to all parts of our major sports. Development is poor, coaching seems to be poor and consequently the players are poor.

    It's disappointing, but as we said, it's nothing new!

  • Comment number 2.

    I simply don't agree that the issue with the England team is too many foreign players in the Premier League. If anything our players should benefit playing alongside foreigners with superior skills. The League attracts and can afford -along with a number of other top clubs on the continent - the best players. We simply don't produce enough top young talent with the skills required to fill key positions in the wealthiest clubs. Composure on the ball, flair, dribbling, passing under pressure etc are all drummed/shouted/bullied out of our players when they're knee high. To make it worse our national team now seem to have a complex about it and our opposition know it. How many times were England pressured into passing the ball to Joe Hart only for him to lump it up the field to the opposition. Even Ukraine forced us to play to long ball. Lets start by freshening up the FA, they have presided over all of England's failures seemingly without reproach.

  • Comment number 3.

    The media are to blame. As whenever we get a creative tehnical side (Arsenal 2 seasons ago for example) the press laud the likes of Stoke for "getting in there faces" showing them "the fisical side of the game".Skill must be applauded by the media and phisicality shuned

  • Comment number 4.

    Engald have had 40 odd yrs of ' underachieving' our expectations, yet there has been very little done to combat the basic devlopment of players that know how to pass, hold onto a ball and control a game.

    If this was a business , the fundamentals would have been changed long ago. The stats in the games speak loud and clear. Italy derseved the win, and England prooved what most fans have known for a long time. We dont have the players that are capable of putting fear into the opposition. Big players perform on the International stage; The Rooneys and others did not.

    I now live in the states and see the sporting environment that kids are brought up in. local schools play to bigger audiences than professional teams in the UK, and the attitude that goes with that is very clear. They want to be the best , they train and prepare to be the best, and everyone (parents , teachers, coaches) all buy into it.

    What system do we have for really developing young kids in England? We will pay the next wanna be Rooney millions of pounds, let them crash a bentley or two, end up on the front pages of the tabloids, and then say "where did it all go wrong?"

    USA will get into the Semi's of the WC before England! If you dont believe it, come over here and look at local 'soccer' academy in any town. You will be amazed by the commitment, the fascilities, and the will to win

    Any one fancy a pint and a bag of chips?

  • Comment number 5.

    The answer must come from the Premier League and that will only come about if supporters put pressure on it to now do something to encourage the development of English players in the clubs' academies. Could do this in two ways: (i) require the clubs to ring-fence a certain percentage of their TV monies for their academies and (ii) require the clubs to reserve a number of academy places for local players.

  • Comment number 6.

    Some good points but I don't think that the "millionaire" tag, or the "too many foreigners" comment are valid. I watched the Spain/France match on TV (incidentally, the most boring game to date!) and seem to remember a comment that 10 of the 11 Spanish players on the pitch were from either Real Madrid or Barcelona. I'm sure that most of them are highly paid as well! I think the difference is that for the Spanish the honour and privilege of playing for their country is paramount (in a different sport, just see Alonso's reaction on winning the F1 GP yesterday), whereas some of the English team seem to treat the occasion as a post-season drudge.

  • Comment number 7.

    I would be interested in the statistics of 'local players' in the other leading national teams 'premier leagues', especially Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal. To counter the argument that England is failing because we have only a third of 'locals' the other countries should have a higher percentage! Is it true?

  • Comment number 8.

    I agree that basic changes need to happen at grass roots level, but am I the only one thinking England desperately need to sort out there mentality and the basic tactical errors against Italy was not due to a lack of skill.

    We need a change of mentality about possession. If we've just defended for 15 minutes don't use the goal kick to boot it up the field and give it straight back to them. Roll it out to the back four and just keep possession for 5 mins allowing our team to recover, and then be patient in attack!

    The back five might have put in a monumental defensive effort, but they rue their panicking and inability to keep possession by booting the ball up the field. You can't expect the midfield to keep possession if you don't give it to them safely. Keep the ball on the ground like Germany and Spain and only lift the ball off the ground once ready to cross into the box.

    Ultimately this 'great defensive performance' stank of players lack of confidence in their ability to keep the ball under pressure, and this stems from the defenders and midfielders and strikers. Why oh why doesn't the FA value sports psychology? Not only to improve on-field ability to cope with pressure and confidence to perform, but maybe to help deal with the pressure of taking a penalty!!!

  • Comment number 9.

    it's not about regulating the top level of the game but about development and also culture.

    Most of the countries at the top of football have one major domestic sport, football. we have several.

    We also have an archaic youth structure with no focus on technical development. This has severely restricted the talent coming out.

    We also have had a generation devoid of much flair. they say this was the golden generation but I don't see many players that can dribble, shoot or general playmaking like any top continental players.

  • Comment number 10.

    England were outplayed by the Italians, but there were signs - in the first half - of some coherency in their passing and play, both on and off the ball. At half time, the Italians made a few adjustments and England failed to produce anything of danger from then on.

    The key area for improvement is ball retention and patience on the ball. For some reason (perhaps the premier league's bustling pace is responsible) our players seem to think that once they have made a pass, they need to make a run at breakneck speed. This leads to the receiver having to make a 50:50 ball up field in the general direction of the run. Result - loss of possession.
    Gerrard and Rooney are the main culprits of this. By all means, deliver the occasional long ball - but not 75% of the time.

    I look forward to the return of Jack Wilshire and hope that Mr Hodgson will look to young players of this ilk for future games. Otherwise, we will all be writing the same words in two and four years time.

  • Comment number 11.

    David, it is likely to be the same old story because we (as a football nation) are not technically proficient enough, but lets not make excuses about a winter break (albeit it would be a nice rest) or limiting foreign players in the PL - it will not make our players suddenly better. As for owners and managers, who do they buy when the only measure is success? technically gifted players schooled correctly or a promising local lad whose not 'the finished article'. It should come as no surprise that two-thirds of the PL players are foreign - the challenge is to make our home grown players better. St George's will finally open later this year which will help but that in itself took 10 snail pace years to get here. The FA need to react quicker, pushing through directives on player and team development, subsidising coaching for the masses and generally take a firmer grip on the state of our game. if we assume we can get things right from now on we may have a chance come 2026.

  • Comment number 12.

    I completely agree with the above comment. We just kept retreating back to our penalty area and gave the Italians free reign to pass the ball about. We should have assigned someone to stick like glue to Pirlo and just harass him to death. Brilliant though he is, he is in his mid thirties and with someone young and strong (the Ox?) on his shoulder the whole brains behind the Italian team would have been blunted. You cannot allow excellent passers of the ball the luxury of time, they will pick you to death. Watch the Spaniards, when they lose the ball they are in your face in an instant and press you right back into your own half. They never retreat. I do not think individually we are too far behind most teams although the number of completely one footed players continues to be an embarrassment

  • Comment number 13.

    As I see it (and I don’t pretend to be breaking new ground with this), there are two main problems with England’s game:

    1. They can’t keep the ball.
    2. They can’t break down teams.

    Both of these stem from the domestic game that they play (far too much of). The Premier League may well be the best in the world for entertainment but that is largely because it is fast paced, open and (on the whole) attack orientated. However, it follows a fairly formulaic pattern of waves of attack and counter attack and plenty of changes in possession. I’m sure if I had the time I could back it up with statistics that show average possession percentages to be fairly equal between the two teams in games over the season and pass completion percentages (with the exception perhaps of Swansea last year) being lower on the whole than in, say La Liga. The “Rule” is sometimes best illustrated by the exception: it only takes a lesser Premier League side to park the bus and get the draw (or sneak a win) and you have the top four side’s manager complaining that the opposition made themselves hard to break down, rather than admitting that their side just wasn't very good at doing it...

    This all means that our players are not used to playing in teams that can do 1 well and when a game is not fast paced and attack orientated (i.e. the majority of international football) they get a bit stuck with number 2.

    I know that the comparisons to Spain are tired, but they are a side that are so heavily drilled to do 1 very well, and use wonderfully fluid movement to achieve 2 so they are rightly held out as the masters of these two key skills. They may not be in the form of 4 or 2 years ago but they clearly show that when you do these two things well you will always create chances - converting them is another thing altogther...

  • Comment number 14.

    The Number of Foreign players in the Premiership is misleading. If a player is the best available in that position to be selected by the manager , hes' going to gret put on the field - irrespective of which country he's from. The 'English problem' is that we dont have a lot of English players that are good enough to be selected in the Premiership.

    All we need are 11 - 20 worldclass players - Not 250 odd

    How many in the current English Squad would the 4 semi final team Managers want in their teams? Hart....., Terry (based on the last 2 games!!!)...i struggle to add to the list.

    St Georges is a great idea....20 years too late. Germany , France , SPain have been doing this for longer and know how to do it. Maybe we should be sending our young lads abroad to learn how to pass and control a ball

  • Comment number 15.

    england were well drilled, organised and hard to beat under cappello! the simple fact of the matter is - and this should really concentrate english minds - that if italy had had a miroslav klose up front last nite they would probably have been looking at a hammering on 2010 lines again.

    Chris waddle called it absolutely right - england are no better and no further forward than they were under cappello two years ago. and given the conservative approach to football that hodgson is known for its difficult to see how this situation is going to change any before the next world cup in brazil in 2014. Frankly its difficult to see what on earth the fa were thinking of when they appointed hodgson as england manager? Basically they appointed a manager with all the tactical flaws his predecessor was savaged for.......except of course that cappello has achieved far more in the game than hodgson ever on earth will england playing the hodgson way cope in the heat and humidity of brazil in 2 years time?...when retaining possession and conserving energy will be vital.....hodgson is graham taylor with more linguistic ability.....its a mystery how this tactically inept dinosaur is being given such an easy ride by the media....i suspect he wont be with the future embarrassments to come for england under his stewardship

  • Comment number 16.

    Until we acknowledge that the problem starts with youth football and how it is coached we will always have a problem. When I first qualifie as coach we used the term "playing out of feet" where the first touch enabled us to move the ball to where we wanted it in preparation for the next touch which is a pass.We also learnt to pass to a man on the move rather than static - note Walcott last night wanting the ball played to his feet rather than moving onto the ball. When the man receiving the ball is static the whole move becomes erratic and disjointed. Flowing football comes from passing into space in front of the man so ball moveent is forward.

  • Comment number 17.

    Interestingly statistics show that 37% of premiership players are English. About the same percentage of possession they had in last nights game.
    If we want to succeed we need to cut the number of foreign players based in the Premiership.
    If anyone's to blame for our downfall, then blame Sky and the Murdoch family..

  • Comment number 18.

    well and truly outplayed by the Italian. Only positive was our defending looks strong at times which didn't seem in the past, but even then Mario beat the offside trap, if it was the Germans i dread to think Gomes/Podolski/Klose would have ran riot against us. Better to be beaten by the Italian than get hammered by the Germans. England will always be a Quarters team, much improvement needed and for this Hodgson needs to play with more attacking mind rathe then then toooooo defensive. In every match we had less possession and just about crossed the line.

  • Comment number 19.

    Some of the problem is that the average Football Supporter in all the Leagues have no patience. If a team started playing slower passing game, they start getting restless and wanting the ball hoofed up field.
    Secondly, My daughter was watching a couple of games during the Tournament, doesn't usually, But came out with "When England have the ball there is'nt anyone to pass to available, but when Spain were playing there was always a couple of options"
    Do our player work hard enough to find space?

  • Comment number 20.

    I completly agree with most of the comments regarding the lack of ball possesion, we chased around to get the ball then passed it back to Joe hart who on 75% of the time kicked it up the field and guess what the Italians got it back straight away and kept it for another 5 mins to launch yet another attack. We don't seem to be able to keep the ball on the ground for any length of time. Unless we change our basic game the quarter finals are about our level. Also our fitness compared to Italy did not look good, Pirlo one of the oldest on the pitch was still running around after extra time.

  • Comment number 21.

    This must be the easiest report that you press guys ever write - the obituary of England after a major tournament. All you need to do is go back and dig up what you wrote last time and the time before that and the time before that and ...........

    The English game can sell its should to TV, for so much money because it is, probably, the most entertaining in the world and therefore the most watchable and therefore the best place for advertising!!! Are those who earn vast sums from this going to be so willing to change???

    It is not just kids and grass-roots that need to change but the whole system PLUS the expectations of the paying public

  • Comment number 22.

    In Europe, many countries have a style of football generic to their nation followed at club level. Spanish club sides play like the Spanish national team. The same applies to Italy and Germany. In England, Chelsea, United, Arsenal, Liverpool and City all play in different ways from each other, which is different again from England. Until we have a national "brand" of football which is followed through at club level there won't be any success in major tournaments. This is why it is easier to develop an 'all hands on deck' defensive style, making us hard to beat rather than an attacking style which would allow us to win.

  • Comment number 23.

    @4, sums it up pretty well. Englands underachieving is based on individualism, on and off the field. We can't seem to cohere as a team enough times in a tournament let alone a match and the FA hierarchy are promoting this selfish attitude with sky high wages and media dealings.

    Bring in the youngsters, more imagination, will and determination up front and in mid field. We have a great defensive attitude and capability, but that does not win you matches.

  • Comment number 24.

    David, we know all this really, don't need another article on it.

    What we need is something to be DONE about it.

  • Comment number 25.

    Theo Walcott should have played 5 full seasons of first team league football by now.
    Daniel Sturridge should have played 4 full seasons of league football by now.

    Two examples of talented players who have haven't played enough. Yet if you suggested bringing in Premier league B teams like in Spain and Germany then there would be an uproar. (Yes, Messi, Iniesta, Xavi and all the rest of them played at least a full season for Barca B).

    Past examples include Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips. You don't get something for nothing, if we are to build for the future then something will have to give. But it won't, people here are too interested in their own clubs.

    I personally would scrap reserve team football and replace it with something else (ideally B teams in lower leagues but this would kill off the smaller clubs), limit the amount of foreign players, stop big clubs poaching English talent for next to nothing.

    Work on improving kid's technical skill all you like, but they will still never play under the current system.

  • Comment number 26.

    Ignore the FA... it's not their fault, insomuch as they're utterly ineffectual when it comes to enforcing any semblance of authority over the professional game.

    Think I'm joking?

    There are currently two friendlies scheduled for the rest of the year, coincidentally against teams we've just played. Against Italy on August 15th played in Switzerland, and a trip to Stokholm to play Sweden on November 14th.

    The weekend following the Sweden game is the North London derby at the Emirates... and with Matchday 5 of the group phase of Champions League pencilled in for the 20th/21st, there's not much chance of the fixture moving to Monday, although Sunday 18th is a possibility.

    So how many out of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Wilshire, Walker, Parker, Lennon and Defoe do you think will turn out for a meaningless friendly when there's bigger fish to fry at club level?

  • Comment number 27.

    Agree with so many of the comments. Again and again we seem to struggle with possession and passing. We seem to lack players with the vision to pick a pass early. Having had a couple of brushes with professional academies / COEs this year, it is clear that there are lots of good young players with great athleticism and great feet. However, they seem to be almost encouraged to be greedy and get to stand out through their individual contribution to a game. Players who have vision, can pick a pass may get through but don't seem to be as highly prized as those who can beat man after man on their own. Trouble is, as demonstrated by Rooney, Walcott etc, there comes a point when you can't do it all on your own and maybe pro teams need to be a bit smarter in their scouting.

  • Comment number 28.

    @19 is the only person on here so far who I think points out a significant part of England's problem. I don't necessarily agree that our players are not as technically good as other teams (perhaps with the exception of Spain) - I just think that the movement of our players is awful. Most of our players make a pass and then stop, thinking they've done their job. It takes a certain amount of intelligence to find space on a congested pitch. This may sound controversial but maybe our players just aren't intelligent enough to find space on a football pitch - I don't think it's a coincidence that most footballers from other countries talk a lot more sense off the pitch than the England players.

  • Comment number 29.

    FA neither most of the english players play full to their potential like they do for their club, high wages, wags and glamourous life style. only 1 man is good enough to wear the england top with pride and honour.........EMILE HESKEEEEEYYYYYYY

  • Comment number 30.

    We are back with the same arguements and proposals. Get the fellas some winter break so they can rest. Football in England is too big a business to start making rules about foreign players. For God's sake there are foriegn players everywhere: Spain, Italy, France, Germany. Maybe we are overhyping our players.

    Let's reorganise better for the World cup qualfiers... Meanwhile the ashleys should not blame themselves too much.

  • Comment number 31.

    People on here blaming Sky tv and the presence of foreign players in the EPL are talking rubbish. It's more to do with our footballing culture from the grass roots level. Kids should play 5-a-side til they're teenagers. The focus must be on ball retention and short, quick passes. No more hoofing it round on a large pitch while being screamed at by dim-witted parents.

  • Comment number 32.

    There has to be something wrong with a system that leads to an England manager being able to choose from fewer than 40% of the Premier League players. More than 6 players in every 10 in this "best league in the world" are simply not available to him. It's a system in which the Premier League protects and promotes its interests above and in contradiction to the FA's or national team's interests. It's a system that celebrates riches, no matter where they come from, or whether or not they go back into sustaining the game. It's also a system in which junior teams play on full-size pitches, with full-size goals, and guess what...the big kids who can lump it up the pitch to the other big kids who can smash it into the goal are the ones all the parents and coaches idolise. There is no emphasis on technique, so we end up with a load of chuggers, who have the ball control of a Toblerone bar, and no patience or awareness.

    It's no use looking at Spain and Germany, and saying we ought to be like them, until and unless we're prepared to do what they've done and continue to do.

  • Comment number 33.

    @ #1 Brew

    There is a simple reason why England don't close other teams down quick enough and that is because we are not good enough ON the ball.

    Watch all of the other teams in the semis, you will rarely see one of them out on their feet after 70 minutes getting cramp. This is because when they have the ball, they don't have to move very far becuase they let the ball do all the work. This then makes the other team have to work hard because they are chasing the ball. Especially when you are playing a 442 against a team that floods the midfield (pretty much every international side) But again has many have stated, I am just repeating everything, everyone else is saying.

    I saw an interview with David Bernstein (I think it was) earlier saying that the measures they have introduced (ie small sided games) will now help to give us the technically better players we need, the only thing is that the measures have come 10-15 years too late, because we have a bunch of dinosaurs at the FA running the show.

  • Comment number 34.

    Not a problem having foreign players but it is a problem having foreign owners. We need to bring in legislation that they would not be able to own any club outright without an English owner or consortium having the majority share. This would allow for more pride in England and opportunity for English players.

    I don't mind foreign players but they need to be 'top' foreign players. Our clubs often go for cheap and cheerful foreign players because they would be cheap. The likes of Jemba Jemba should never have played in the premiership.

  • Comment number 35.

    The notion that England are poor because there are too many foreigners in the premier league is not accurate. England failed to qualify for tournaments from 1972 to 1978 and there were hardly any foreign players in the leagues back then.

    International football is always a reflection of coaching, youth facilities and investment in a country and England have neglected all of those areas for far too long.

    It is not luck or a coincidence that Spain are doing so well. England and Spain were at the same level in Euro 1996 but in the background, Spain were developing a coaching set-up and facilities that were the best in the world. Two decades on and they have left us behind. Still at least the FA have a lovely stadium to host England games.....

    St Georges park is a clear statement of intent and it is a good thing to have a centre of excellence for the elite young players. However this needs to be backed up with grass-roots investment and there need to be far more quality coaches all singing from the same hymn-sheet. I have strong doubts that the FA has the will to invest in these crucial areas. Some of the pitches our young players have to use are an embarrassment.

    Even now English clubs are selecting the best young athletes for their academies rather than the players with touch and technique. Football has moved on, the physicality has rightly or wrongly disappeared and English players need to understand and catch up.

    Players like Wilshere, Rodwell and Sturridge give hope for the future but it will be many years before England have a crop of world beating players.

  • Comment number 36.

    Pass and move, its not bloody rocket science. Unfortunately there is such a stigma whenever England go into any tournament that the players carry such a huge burden on their shoulders, more than any other national team in the world and it seriously undermines their abilities. I dont know what the answer is. Maybe if we had the memory wiper from 'Men In Black' then our players could go out and do what they do week in week out for their clubs without the knowledge of all our previous failures

  • Comment number 37.

    Fred, re 30 - How many foreign players are there in Spain, Italy, Germany? A stat worth checking, and I'm sure discussed on this forum before, but it's no way as high as the premiership.
    We need to give our players a chance to develop in the premiership. Until that happens we'll continue chasing shadows when it comes to top level International football.

  • Comment number 38.

    So you're the BBC sports editor and you think that Football is the national sport of England?

    Isn't Cricket the national sport?

  • Comment number 39.

    We need a revolution in English football. The game has moved on and England have been left behind. There has to be an improvement in the quality of the players produced. This squad was lacking quality - where were the technical, intelligent players like Hoddle, Gascoigne, Beardsley? We have to unearth the English Xavi Hernandez or Wesley Sneijder.

    The Premier League is greed personified, i dont count it as English as it is full to the rim with foreign players, managers and owners. It is always going to oppose the national team - the greed has made it become a global league where foreign players get preference over English players. Discrimination exists against English players. The problem is that the PL lasts for 9 months (its fools gold) and a lot of people get high on it. People only talk about the national team once every two years. This is wrong, England has to be a priority.

    On an unrelated note, i just want to say that this tournament has been brilliant - the large scale racism as promised by the media and panorama never materialised (sol campbell and chris rogers were wrong and should apologise). I love international football - no chq book management and money hasnt ruined it unlike the greedy pl. Long may it continue.

  • Comment number 40.

    At 18:10 25th Jun 2012, goldenbales wrote:
    'it's not about regulating the top level of the game but about development and also culture.

    Most of the countries at the top of football have one major domestic sport, football. we have several. '

    That's a total excuse.

    What we need is proper coaching from the age of 6. And the word 'proper' means including free play, encouraging initiative and enjoyment as well as instilling good habits and discipline in an age-appropriate way. It involves individual skills training, spatial awareness training and tactical training.

    This country, in every arena I know much about, has adopted a low-cost, laissez-faire attitude in everything which it does in a second-rate manner.

    Wherever a no-excuse, winning mentality and world-class training regimen has built up, Britain leads the world: cycling, rowing presently, occasionally rugby union and cricket.

    The brutal truth is that our arrogance between 1930 and 1970 meant that we were left behind in sports that the whole world plays (notably football), whether or not we invented the game.

    This country is not about excellence, it is about image, money and 'personality'.

    If you can make millions being not the best, that's better than not making millions being the best.

  • Comment number 41.

    From a Spaniard who watches English football...
    The problem nowadays with English football is that still relies only on the physical aspect which is mostly liked by supporters. Most of them (no offence) go already drunk, meet with their mates and relate to football as a MACHO bonding experience linked to terms like : courage, strength and fight... In Spain this was also predominant before the mid 80s. Since then people realized that watching football should also be a pleasure for the mind and imagination. In addition, now all football players have similar physical capabilities so the difference is made on the ball being moved around. It is the ball the one supposed to be moved around on the pitch...that is why is round and played on the should not be "kicked" but passed to your team mate as this is a truly team sport. Young footballers in England should first learn to pass to a team mate than shoot to the goal, then by team the goal would just be a pass to the net. Easier to say than done but needs to start somewhere....

  • Comment number 42.

    Barca500. I don't agree. How many. English midfielders are their in the premiership? Turn the question round, how many Spanish midfield players are there in La liga?
    Would Henderson get into any side in la Liga?
    I agree that St George's is great but it's 20 years too late, and nations like Spain, Germany will still be ahead..

  • Comment number 43.

    Foreign players or no, the youth programs at PL clubs produce enough home grown ones, from Man U and Arsenal to West Ham. After all, everyone in the England team came up that way, and look how many were left behind. The number of players is fine. The problem is that those players are usually not capable of keeping the ball and passing accurately in international quality games.

    That's due to being coached wrongly as youths, and as children. There should be more emphasis on skill, good first touches etc, and less on hard running. That seems to be what the FA is trying now, and Liverpool have revamped their youth setup in the same vein too, focusing not on results but on improving skills. All this might work - but not for years. Meantime we have to place our hopes on the shoulders of Wilshire, Cleverley, Welbeck, and younger emerging talents like Raheem Sterling. To be honest I can't see England achieving much for the next few years. The road to success will be longer than that.

  • Comment number 44.

    I agree with #3 if not his spelling!

    However remember picking the pass is one thing. Players moving into space to allow the pass is the other. Watch the Spanish players. Their movement is very fliud.

  • Comment number 45.

    Bob wrote:

    So you're the BBC sports editor and you think that Football is the national sport of England?

    Isn't Cricket the national sport?

    Erm, No. what on earth makes you think that?

  • Comment number 46.

    Here's an idea......practice penalties in training, have the preferred order of penalty takers already decided before they go out to play, study the penalty taking habits of the opposition and practice again until you don't know how to miss.

    Just an idea.

    You can look for different reasons for the defeat but what you are doing is looking how to improve the performance, but penalty taking has been an English weakness for decades and the principal reason for not getting to semi finals and finals. It is also the easiest and cheapest solution. I'm surprised that no other blogger has mentioned it.

  • Comment number 47.

    Was just thinking How high up my to do list was reading what David Bond thinks about football? Not very. Anyone want to synthesize the blog for me? I'm guessing there's not a single insightful suggestion...?

  • Comment number 48.

    While we are in Europe we will not be able to limit foreign players as we could if we were out. Never mind the economy. Petition the government to offer us a referendum. Now we have an English manager. Lets get more English players in the premier teams.

  • Comment number 49.

    For the past 35 years I have watched England and other than a couple of competitions (1990 & 1996) we have shown very little signs of winning a major tournament.
    What saddens me is that there have not even been signs that we are building for the future. Something has to change, we need to look at the other successful countries and ask "what do they do differently to us"? Why are there so few English players in the Italian, Spanish and German leagues? Is our teaching at grass roots wrong? Our kids start playing football like any other nations children, but somewhere along the line individual flair, the ability to control the ball and to work as a team seems to be lost. We can blame the influx of foreign players, but surely if our homegrown talent is good enough they will be in the team.
    I just hope that the new YDP is given enough time, because that is what it will take to come to fruition - 10 to 15 years. Lets start building for the future, a future where we can consistently contend at the big touranments.

  • Comment number 50.


    They did all that but you can't replicate the atmosphere, pressure, nerves in training as when you're there taking your kick in front of millions.

  • Comment number 51.

    how about picking players based on ability, not who they play for? Milner, Young, Welbeck, Carroll, Downng, Henderson, Kelly are all players that could easily have been left at home. Holt at least had a decent season, he deserved a chance in the squad at least and the warm up matches. Sadly the FA have their favourite teams, it is well acknowledged that some can do no wrong, it has gone on for years now.

  • Comment number 52.

    Not a big football fan, but I agree with the comments about giving away possession with the long ball. I also find it odd how dismissive people are about the problem of too many overseas players in the Premier League having an adverse effect on the national teams performance. Well, history teaches us that the national teams performance in major competition was better when there were fewer overseas players (1960' & 70's). The idea that all good players will always come through is flawed. Many will be put off by the massive choice managers have, and not believe they have a chance. Still, whilst all the soccer pundits ignore the argument, it will be the same old story after each major tournament!

  • Comment number 53.

    psychohammer wrote:

    how about picking players based on ability, not who they play for? Milner, Young, Welbeck, Carroll, Downng, Henderson, Kelly are all players that could easily have been left at home. Holt at least had a decent season, he deserved a chance in the squad at least and the warm up matches. Sadly the FA have their favourite teams, it is well acknowledged that some can do no wrong, it has gone on for years now.

    Get real mate!

  • Comment number 54.

    Downng would have been a better player as he would be a fantasy footballer having made him up, unfortunately Downing actually exists

  • Comment number 55.

    MekonChris #5, puts forward a very good argument BUT it will never happen. The reason being that the average supporter of a Premier League is more interested in the instant success of their own team than they are of England in years to come. The huge revenue from TV deals allows teams to import some of that success and that keeps fans happy with the result that there are "more bums on seats".
    We see teams spending £30+M a season just to keep pace with those around them.
    Something drastic needs to be done at grass roots level but the problem is finding someone to take responsibility for starting the revolution.
    As far as Euro 2012 goes I would say this as a Scotsman looking in, I really thought England had a great chance of beating Italy and say it slightly differently from Sir Bobby, I thought Germany were the danger and if you got to the final would beat either Spain or Portugal. Sadly every English footballer will be haunted whenever he is asked to take a penalty in future. Roll on 2014, things can only get better.

  • Comment number 56.

    Here is an idea.
    What about banning FA cup replays and the likes.
    It is the lack of practice in a competitive environment that makes it so hard for English players to perform at penalty shootouts in top class competitions.
    On the continent and from a very young age, players get to experiment penalty shootouts much more often. It is an occasion you learn to embrace rather than fear.

  • Comment number 57.

    I think we need look deeper into the game rather than the 'flaws' in the domestic game....

    Just go and watch any kids playing at their local club and you'll see quite how deep the flaws run

    Just seems to be that whomever can kick the ball highest or furthest down the pitch is lauded as the best player.

    What about playing to a rule of no balls above head height? What about restricting the passes to no more than two 'zones'? What about teaching possession being the ultimate rule?

    'Hoofball' is the English way. We don't have a single player who can beat a man at International level or receive and give passes under pressure (and I don't mean Walcott and Chamberlain's push and run game)

    There are major problems with the mentality of the game from top to bottom. The kids watch their idols do it and then eventually they become the idols that future generations copy...

  • Comment number 58.

    @.42 Spyder04

    The point I was making was that England had a team that didn't even qualify for tournaments in the 1970's when most players in the top league were English. The national team was just as poor when almost all of the club players were English or British so the fact there are lots of foreigners now is something of a moot point.

    The fact is if the English talent was good enough, the big clubs wouldn't have to buy foreign imports. That comes down to grass-roots coaching and development of players.

    Wayne Rooney is the classic example of what is wrong in English football. He was the best player at Euro 2004 when he was 18. Eight years on and he looks like a pub player when wearing the three lions. Somewhere along the line, his development internationally has gone wrong. The touch and technique disappears when he plays for England.

    The 'too many foreigners' argument is the easy way out. The reality is that the FA have not invested in young players, coaches and facilities as the Spanish have.

    Arsene Wenger said it best when he said 'English players would be playing for Arsenal, United, City and Chelsea IF they were good enough.....' The truth is they are not and that has nothing to do with the amount of non-English players in the premier league!

  • Comment number 59.

    I agree with all the previous comments about our inability to keep possession, at times when Carroll dropped deep i didn't know whether to laugh or cry, but we have been poor in this area for 40 years and i think we will be discussing the same topic in 40 years time.
    We got abit of luck to progress to the quarter's and as a previous person said, the luck ran out and thankfully we are on our way home because it would of got even more embarrassing against the German's.
    We are at present a 1/4 final side nothing more, Algeria were technically better than us in the last world cup.
    The best thing we can do moving forward is resort to English strengths....tight at the back, this was a plus in the tournament,work on distribution, protected by Parker....2 wingers trying to get to the byeline and a big centre forward putting his weight around.......Gerrard on the right, Ox on the left...Wilshere and Rooney in the middle and BIG Andy Carroll, but not to deep......
    We are never going to be technically go enough, so let's play to our strengths and actually try to beat side's....

    46 sportmadgav...i think we could practice penalties until christmas, but you can never reproduce...a, the tiredness b, the atmosphere c, the walk from the half way line....All i would say to a penalty taker is hit the target, hard and not diving height....just put your foot through it....

  • Comment number 60.

    It is a question of culture. I live in a german town of 32000. We have 5 football clubs. The longest established has 27 teams from mini kickers to veterans. They all have their own coaches, including goal keeper coach - every aspect is professional to a degree that I have never seen anywhere in UK - and I had the privilege of carrying the sponge bag for winners of the Army Cup that included Alex Young and Ron Yeats. I watched West Ham schoolboys beat the rest of England (1943/44) but West Ham United had a youth academy - probably the first and only in UK. It doesn't require money - it requires enthusiasm and dedication.

  • Comment number 61.

    Why cant we change it so that all premier league teams must field at least five players from england in their starting 11. That will mean clubs will have to develop English players giving them game time. Its all well and good in investing in academies but there is no real need for them unless each team has to have English players in the starting lineup otherwise we develop players up until 18/19 and then if they arent good enough they go to championship clubs.

    Its a very simple change.

    United are the leaders in this field with a potential England centre back pairing in Jones and Cleverly, a potential International in Cleverly and Danny Welbeck. These players are getting game time helping them develop.

    However i have just realised that even with these English players in the starting lineup, the style of play could remain. ie. not possession orientated.

    So it must come from a deeper place, perhaps its a mentality that must be instilled in our young players. If we can get very technical youngsters coming through then it is up to the managers of the premier league teams and the international team to play possession football.

    I think this is a culture that is changing. Swansea have proved that teams can play this way, Arsenal too. Man City are conforming to this style also.

    Once we can produce players and get them playing in our top teams then maybe we can hope to challenge the European big boys.

  • Comment number 62.

    I believe that one of the reasons that there are so few technically gifted young players available, is due to the fact, that the backroom boys who train and advise these youngsters , are probably themselves from the old kick and rush era of football.

    I firmly believe, that in the past, when youngsters have turned up for training, and many of them did have technical skills, they were told to forget all that nonsense on the pitch, they were then taught how to kick a ball 50 to 60 yards down the pitch, and hope that it landed on someones head, for them to score a goal.

  • Comment number 63.

    "I confess: defeats wearing an England shirt never hurt me in the same way as losing with my club.

    Anyone who confesses that should have their England record expunged from the archives less be employed by any TV company to comment on England games again.Caragher should be ashamed of himself!

    The priority should be England first and club football second,just like the Germans and our Cricket team do.As for those who claim the Premier league is the best in the world,they are wrong,all the best players play in Italy and Spain and anyone who becomes good like Ronaldo eventually leaves to play at a higher level.
    We need English quotas in the PL, the FA need to teach 20,000 new coaches along Ajax/Brazilian Soccer skills lines then in 15 years or so then we may just see some results

  • Comment number 64.

    Surely Swansea proved last season that is possible for British players to retain possession and pass accurately under pressure. Their team was made up of ex lower league players, so why can't the big teams do this with their star players, or at least attempt it?

  • Comment number 65.

    Supporters views here have points all of which are valid. They need to be considered because it is they who pay the ££! It is deeply frustrating for them to see other players with the same skills as the Eng. team but able to pass the ball instead of pass and hoof which the Eng team does on EVERY big occasion! There needs to be a proper review where these can all be explored but NOT ignored!
    However remember you could be Scottish supporters. Our football is DIRE, with no prospects of improvement at local or national level!

  • Comment number 66.

    Good article, but England are performing as good as the quality of their players. England remain a 'the weaker of the pool 1 sides.' England have won nothing in my 40 year lifetime, and haven't even reached a major final!

    England are NOT as good as Europe's elite such as Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, even Netherlands on a good day. England are essentially in the same category as teams such as Czech Republic, Greece and Sweden.

    I feel for the England fans because the media has hyped up the team's chances for decades and no pay off. This competition saw a closer synch between actual player talents and the newspapers' expectations.

  • Comment number 67.

    England did pretty well. There is nothing to cry about. Penalties kicks are a lottery and their results don’t say anything about the strength of the national team.

    It’s true that Italy outplayed England, but OTH England’s chances were much more dangerous.

    A note to BBC:
    It is really shameful what you did to Poland and Ukraine before the tournament started. These two nations spent billions and several years of efforts on preparations to the tournament. And then, everything was taken away from them by your shameful, unjust, and biased propaganda reporting.
    The propaganda of the big media machine which doesn’t need to be accountable to anybody. Shame on your BBC for your biased reporting and also shame on your cohorts – CNN, ESPN, Sport Illustrated, and others. You and they went to great extent to diminish Polish and Ukrainian nations and portray them in a bad light.

    So, at least with the England’s exit, your worries can be put to rest but your reputation as biased reporter is going to stick with you forever. Hopefully, Polish and Ukrainian media are going to pay you for your reporting with similar biased and unfair to England reporting about your Olympic Games.


  • Comment number 68.

    I think we forget that we do actually have some (not many) technically gifted players we just left them all at home, does anyone remember a Joe Cole, or Adam Johnson? Both can make defenders look like they are playing on ice and both inexplicably left behind for the likes of Downing and Henderson! Wilshire wasn't fit either and he could easily be as good as Pirlo if only he can stay injury free.

    It doesn't help that young talent is stolen from clubs (bit bitter here as a Leeds fan, too many to mention) who would get into the first team and have time on the pitch to develop and get swallowed into the Chelsea's / Tottenhams of this world to be lost to the system.

  • Comment number 69.

    Nothing will change until the crusty old duffers at the FA pull their finger out.

    Remember the promise of 'root and branch review of English football" after the McClaren debacle?

    The FA make reassuring promises of action to placate each and every miserable failure of the national team at times when tournaments mean they cannot escape scrutiny and each and every time they quietly renege on any action in between. They rely on poor memories and continue to spin out the same old delaying or avoidance tactics on the promise of 'jam tomorrow.

    Time to take the game away from the PRIVATE GENTLEMAN'S CLUB - The Football Association

  • Comment number 70.


    So WHY did Spain in the 1950's & 60's fail to qualify for WC after WC with "naturalised" Spainards like Di Stefano & Puskas in their XI, whilst Real Madrid, who initiated the idea, won the first 5 European Cups?

    And why did we fail to qualify for 2 WC's in a row in the 70's when there were NO foreign players in the League?

    A winter break IS a must-ALL four semi-finalists here have one, we don't;does that tell you something?

    And let's stop worshipping donkeys who "put in a shift" and start celebrating players with ability.

  • Comment number 71.

    @ 3 "As whenever we get a creative tehnical side (Arsenal 2 seasons ago for example) the press laud the likes of Stoke for "getting in there faces" showing them "the fisical side of the game".Skill must be applauded by the media and phisicality shuned"

    Everything that is wrong with this benine argument in one sentance. Physicality can beat technique, yet we convince ourselve we must play like Spain to win. Despite the fact they have had four years of success in the last 40, with what is indisputable one of the best generation of players ever. See the next lot coming through though??

    Whats pathetic is our inability to define our own vision, based on the resources we do have and then deliver on it. A lot can be learn't from our Rugby colleagues who went from 7th to best team in the world in 6 years.

  • Comment number 72.

    We don't have the players to compete with the top 8 teams in the world at present. I just can't understand where the expectation with this squad comes from!! IMO the only player in England that could be our playmaker is Joe Cole....He is for some reason overlooked?? Probably because he cannot tackle like Gerrard and Parker. But for heavens's so obvious we need a skillful guy in midfield. If not Cole, someone very similar.

    My only criticism is the the failure of Young and Milner to beat their defenders on a regular basis. I realise they had to defend also, but come on. I mean Beckham lacked pace, but he could really cross a ball, unlike the aforementioned.

    English football is very weak in good wide players, and midfield playmakers. Until we find 3-5 players, we are just a quarter final team IMHO.

    Why don't we offer out some British passports to brilliant young foreign players that qualify from British decendants. It maybe the legitimate solution to our problem.
    We have done this in the past with Zola Budd and Greg Rusedski, so the precedent has been set. The Germans and Irish have recently done this, and also France with Zidane et al.

  • Comment number 73.

    This game should not have been decided by penalties. England should have been beaten easily in 90 minutes! England again in a big game show absolutely no imagination or skill at this level. Any team from the first division not the premier division would have had more than one shot on goal. Italy will have to play a lot better to take on a German team who know how to score.

  • Comment number 74.

    England went out on penalties for the first time in 1990. It's now nearly a quarter of a century during which they've become outstandingly the worst team in the world at taking penalties. The typical English penalty shootout will involve two misses out of five. 1996 was actually our best, apart from that solitary win against Spain.

    If you have a team whose one virtue, whose consistent ability over many years, has been to hold out for draws against teams who have more of the ball, then it would be a good idea to plan for that eventuality. Why not become the _best_ team in the world at taking penalties? Why not actively research the psychology of penalty taking, ways to improve our chances, ways to make the opposition miss? Why not get Darren Brown in? Why not have a penalty shootout after every drawn friendly?

    It's fairly clear at this stage that it's not a matter of chance. Germany win all their penalty shootouts. England miss all theirs. Germans score all their penalties. England miss nearly half of them. Did anybody look at Ashley Young and think - Oh, yeah, he's a highly skilled professional footballer, all he has to do is kick a ball at a fairly large target. Or did most of us think - that man has no idea what he's going to do, apart from miss.

    I don't blame Hodgson, given the small amount of time he's had with the team - but I would blame him if come the next World Cup, England aren't the best prepared team for penalty shootouts. If England had won all the shootouts they'd lost, they'd have two finals to look back on, a stack of semi-finals, and probably some of those opportunities would have been converted.

  • Comment number 75.

    I have loved football all my life (ask the wife) I could not bring myself to watch the World Cup Quarter Final against Germany, I watched almost 90 minutes of the game against Italy, woeful, the same old problems. We have had a negative mentality for as long as I can remember, until we change that we will never win anything. The management of the England team has been a joke for as long as I can remember Taylor, Ericson, McClaren, Capello to name a few! We have had some GREAT players over the past 15 years but they have never played with any team spirit and have all too often been played out of position. Pirlo is a great player, better than Scholes?? NO Where was Scholes played? on the left hand side of midfield! Gerrard should have been captain years ago but he too ended up on the left wing now he is slightly over the hill. As for Terry overated, I remember getting beat by Croatia 3:2 where was he? sat in the stand injured on the Wednesday night, fit to play against Fulham in the Premiership 3 days later on the Saturday.. say no more. Rooney is another completely overated player, capable of brilliant goals occasionally but lacks pace, a poor touch and how many times does he lose the ball in a game, watch and count and don't ask about his abilty to dribble!

  • Comment number 76.

    You know this is really lazy journalism. Over played stars in England?
    Iniesta and Xavi both played nearly 70 games this season without a break. The failings of the England team and Manager......and yet you write such mindless platudes as;

    "Yet six games into the job there is no question there is a lot to be positive about. Well-drilled and well-organised, England were hard to beat at Euro 2012."

    There was little to be positive about. "Well organised" is not going to get anywhere in world football. All it illustrates is the limitations of the coaching staff. What IS this blog about?

    Papering over the cracks isn't going to help the situation, David.

  • Comment number 77.

    england are poor, overrated, overhyped, roy kean and gareth southgate analysis were spot on when they werre showing ITV highlights. What happended to wane rooney, what happened to a.young. keeping the ball is the most important thing.

    keeping the ball is the most important thing.
    keeping the ball is the ost important thing.
    keeping the ball is the most important thing.

    The two best players for england were gerrard and welbeck.

    The two worst a.young. and rooney even with limited amount of games

    when sir lost it alex fergurson bought him i said to myself he belongs to a mid table club and that far as it goes with him, he was the owrst player in the tournament and he kpet his place, last game milner was playing ok to good roy took milner off, and kept young.

    As I said keeping the ball is the msot important thing, spain do that and have scored more goals in the last three years. keeping the ball means dictating play, when you dictate play you are the one with the advantage, you make the game. And it was funny to see te difference between a world class one of th finest players of his generation in pirlo against parker, lol.
    Did Llorente get a game for spain i mean his form was very good he is a fantastic player and guess what his not playing. And how do england think pick the players who are in form, remember quality will always outshine a guy who's in form.

    Instead of playign a.young who was not a threat I would have played oxlade, and egland did miss jack wilshere for the creativity which england lacked.

  • Comment number 78.

    What a lot of Rot !

    Firstly Too many foreigners - Rubbish, if you look back to the 70's and 80's and the bleak years of failure even to qualify for tournaments and then try to name the foreign players in the old Division One ? Answer not many.

    The 2012 Euro squad was drawn from just seven Premiership clubs all of which have a high proportion of foreign stars.

    It's the same old problem if don't play for the right club you don't get picked. Is this what players refer to when moving to enhance their international prospects.

    As for the winter break - You can see Clubs using this as an excuse to drag their players around the world for money spinning friendlies a la pre - season.

    Gerrard a good captain !! - Which player urged the others on prior to Extra time and consoled his team mates in defeat - John TERRY a true leader.

    Gerrard is past his best and it's only a matter of time before he can not longer justify his place. Roy needs to look to the future and pick a younger man to be his lieutenant on the pitch.

    We need to go back to the basics of Alf Ramsey - pick the best TEAM not the best players and if that means dropping some of the media's darlings then so be it.

    We can all look to aportion blame an point the finger but it does not hide the fact that try as we might, however we play, we're not quite good enough to win trophies, and therefore - welcome to the world of most domestic football fans.

  • Comment number 79.

    You’ll need to do more R&D on the subject to get my attention mr bond.
    It’s all too easy to say where not this or that blah blah. The fact of the matter is individual our players are on par with those who they faced on Sunday so it’s not a skill set that’s missing, it’s a mind-set both in player and more tellingly management.
    England has always had the players , although that theory will be deeply tested when Gerrard calls it a day (where’s the next Stevie G?) or for that matter Lampard as we’ve never replaced Paul Scholes.
    But focusing on the here and now, a player with the ability of Michael Johnson is a prime example of the type of player you press types salivate over when donning anything but an England shirt.
    Fact is England habitually air on the cautious side, from the tactics to the player selection. What you call for but can’t understand is right here in front of your eyes. Our back four and keeper are there or there abouts as good as anything you’ll find at club / international level and that’s been the case for years but what we sent out in midfield is where it all falls down.
    In this instance Young was not good enough but for tracking back, while Millner and Parker performed heroics of sorts they are both cautious options designed to protect more than infiltrate.
    You want things to improve by the time the next world cup is upon us? Then start to build England sides out of our most technically gifted players as opposed to our safest pair of hands. An example is the likes of Matt Le Tissier being wasted on beaches in Miami or driving up and down route 66 for weeks at a time while genius England managers of the past rolled out Phil Neville to the watching world, I mean honestly - WHAT THE HELL ??
    In this instance Rooney and Young can make a mockery of what I just said and while in my opinion both are vastly horridly overrated at the same time neither played to their probably level, well Rooney at least.
    Regardless until our managers and England as nation grow big enough kahunas to play our most technically adept players at all times putting them ahead of runners and those who can take a ball in their face without fliniching, then we’ll never improve matters let alone start to hold our own against the rest of the world.

    In saying all of this, i think Hodgson did brilliantly with what he had in the time he had, hats of to the man and the team who played to their strenghts and did me at least proud. but heed my views, as this is the only way fowards.

  • Comment number 80.

    Totally agree with #15 comments. Hodgson is a din0saur to the game and England will be boring, predictable and bad squad selection if he stays in the post for the next 2 years. Great defending does not lead to scoring goal. If you let the other team have the ball and keep shooting at your goal, eventually one will go in. A team is a reflection of their coach and England is mediocre, just like their coach.ZZZZZZzzzzzz!!! Lord, please wake up the FA.

  • Comment number 81.

    in reply to 37, spyder04
    if the statistics I found on the net [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] are to be trusted, then the quota of foreigners in the Premier League was 62,2 % in 2011/12 compared to 49,5 % in Germany, 47,8 % in Italy and 37,5 % in Spain. In 2003 there were 60,6 % foreign players in the German Bundesliga (the Germans never got beyond the group stage at both the Euro 2000 and 2004). Makes you think, doesn't it?

  • Comment number 82.

    "TheOneVoiceOfReason" STILL chatting bobbins after all these years? well i never. So Gerrard was the whole problem right? gees why didn't i think of that, er, hold up.......................................?

  • Comment number 83.

    England out... and for proper footballing reasons unlike the fake ''footballing reasons''excuse they gave for not picking Ferdinand.. Good riddance.

  • Comment number 84.

    As an Italian who loves watching the Premier League , in my opinion, there are 2 main factors why England did not play well yesterday and have not been in any final (as far as I'm aware) since 1966: 1) the Premier League and the many cup games in the UK ensure that the best English players are completely worn out at the end of the season...that is why they looked so tired yesterday. The English clubs do well in the European cup games and the players pass well etc. They didn't forget how to play for their country.....they were just too tired. 2) Great Britain is the only country that is represented by 4 teams and this ensures that the other countries have a clear advantage. Since you have a united Lions team in rugby it could be worthwhile to have something similar in football.

    Good luck for the world cup in Brazil.

  • Comment number 85.


    Surely Young & Rooney should not be tracking back at all?

    How much does Ronaldo do;Or Fabgregas/Iniesta;Or Ozil?

    That's half the problem-we don't play in packs, so when we do lose the ball, there's no one up to press the opposition, like Spain are very good at & Italy weren't too bad at doing last night.

  • Comment number 86.

    i would like to see facilities and pitches improve in junior football so they can develop a more technical approach to the game and they are not hoofing the ball up the slope on boggy pitches, also a nice 3d or astroturf training pitch to train on thrroughout the season and help develop a pass and move philosophy into are game

  • Comment number 87.

    The FA claim they're improving the prospects for young players, yet I believe it's actively hindering their chances. The new EPPP development program actively encourages large clubs to hire many young footballers from lower leagues for a cheap cost, in the hope of developing more English players. However, the glaring issue is the lack of game time these players will inevitably get before being eventually released after not dislodging the foreign player who takes their position in the first team. Players need to be given game time if they want to improve and we're introducing a scheme that hinders opportunity of this.

  • Comment number 88.

    I'm afraid the "too many foreign players" excuse is not sufficient, as is said throughout the comments section. It's just an issue of the modern game requiring all talents considered not a part of the "traditional" English game. The significant lack of technique at every level of English football when compared to the other big leagues is astounding. It's time to move away from having physically imposing work horses throughout the side and achieve a balance between a solid, imposing defensive 5, and a fluid, technical front 5. Players like Ashley Young and Wayne Rooney are amongst the best technicians in the England squad and are yet hounded for not "tracking back" and "putting in a shift".

    Much like #85 points out, their shifts must be in their zones of play, i.e. pressing the fullback and winning the ball higher up, where they can then drive on. Young primarily won the ball or received the ball well behind the halfway line with too much work to be done on his own, part of the reason why he looked so ineffective all tournament.

    There is a crop of young, technical players coming through, suited to the modern game. Wilshere and Cleverley as the ball playing midfielders, Oxlade as a ball carrying forward and Phil Jones and Bertrand as composed defenders capable of playing the ball. One can only hope they do not get dragged into the belief that physicality and organisation is more important than technique and possession.

  • Comment number 89.

    The best comment I have read analyzing the problem with the English national team has to be Raylanzarote's candid views on the print and paper media doing all they can to discourage passing football.
    The media is always on about harrying and hassling players off the ball and have created monsters in likes of Stoke etc.
    England needs a Wenger if they are to progress.

  • Comment number 90.

    Thelastbandit @45 - As to the comment about cricket not being our national sport i would like to remind you that our cricket team are currently the number one ranked team in world cricket - any ideas as to how our football team can reach the same level??

  • Comment number 91.

    Its the English fans that are the problem not the English players.

    Anyone who has spent time over the past 10 to 15 years watching English League Academy teams play and train will have seen youngsters playing wonderful passing football from 8 years old upwards.

    So what goes wrong?

    English fans want to see the ball in the box quickly rather than a loads of passing, the pressure from the terraces on players to 'get rid' is on every player, this result is a culture of 'lump it up' football. either to a tall forward or in the channels for the faster lads.

    Then we can't hold onto the ball for long at tournaments against gifted international players.

    Perhaps a 10 year blueprint for fans by the FA is needed.

  • Comment number 92.

    Copying Spain or Germany's style of play might allow us to compete but why would a close copy of the aforementioned necessarily beat the original? We need to develop a style of play that is unique to us...and no, kick and rush/blood and sweat effort is not enough - that's an approach determined by limitations rather than shaped by ambition.

    And to practice penalties, don't allow draws in the PL or any of the cups...90 mins on a heavy pitch, 40,000+ screaming fans, 5 penalties to decide the match...that will ensure our players are used to taking successful penalties in the most pressurised of situations. Unless of course the players in question are foreign and then all we are doing is training the opposition, which brings us back to arguments about the lack of top level opportunities for home grown players posted here and debated for almost as long as I can remember.

  • Comment number 93.

    #56 Good idea

    Ban the 90 minute replays in domestic cups, penalties is the only way that the players will get the practice they need for major tournaments which are normally defensive matches in QF's SF's and Final ie. they normally end in a draw/stalemate=penalties.

  • Comment number 94.

    Is something wrong with the site. I wrote a bit of an essay, but it won't post!

  • Comment number 95.

    Hang on just one cotton-pickin' minute. The usual post-tournament inquest is underway with a vengeance I see, and with the usual massive over-reaction.
    From some of these reactions, you would think that England had been thrashed 10-0 and completely humiliated by the Italians. Hey guys, it really isn't as bad as that. Forget about who deserved to win (ie. Italy), the fact is that after 120 minutes of this alleged mauling, the score was 0-0. Yes that's right, the Italians had failed to defeat us despite being the better team for approx 100 of those minutes.
    They passed the ball around well, we didn't. They spurned some good goalscoring opportunities, but so did we.
    In short, we played in a similar way to Italian teams when they play away from home in the CL. There is no doubt that any Italian league side would consider 0-0 a good result after 90 minutes of spoiling tactics in a CL game played in England. And would their press and fans heavily criticise them ? Not likely.
    Italy were the better team on the night and deserve their semi-final place, but that was only decided after the lottery of a penalty shoot-out. Had the below par Ashley Young converted his penalty, England would have led 3-1 and the pressure would really have been on the remaining three Italian penalty takers.
    My point is that we are always ready to beat ourselves up after a dissapointment such as that, but if Young had converted and England gone on to win the shoot-out, the reaction would have been exactly the opposite. Remember how Chelsea won the CL against a better team in the final ?
    When all the hoo ha has died down, I think that England will rightfully be considered as one of the top 8 sides in Europe and as we came close to finishing in the top 4 in this competition, that is no mean achievement.

  • Comment number 96.

    The crucial concept as far as youth development is concerned is clear - small sided games but in itself this doesn't address the problem - the 'smallness' of the team is undermined if the pitch is too big - this is the real issue and by vastly reducing the size of the playing area or training area in junior football we should see an improvement in spatial awareness and technical ability.

    The thing that really annoys me is the holy grail of the F.A and UEFA coaching badges which quite frankly are the reason why England haven't won a major tournament in recent times. Technical Drills, progressing into a functional practice progressing into a conditioned game progressing into a game absolutely bores the pants off the majority of young English players.

    Why not let the kids play, 4v4 or 5v5 on very small pitches for the majority of their training. This is fun, this is fast, this is Football! Football (the game) always motivates both young and old and yet in trying to 'educate' our kids about the game the passion and skill is inevitably lost.

    Looking at the bigger picture of how we should play in the future I see little point in copying Spain and going for a highly technical possession game. While this can be exciting to watch and marvel at, the point is that Barcelona and Spain have been there and done it and quite frankly, there will be few teams who can better what they have done with possession football over the last five years.

    It's time to move on and create something new and a style of play that would suit England would be a fast pace one and two touch style that moves the ball predominantly forward on the ground. We have tried to play this in the past but due to technical inadequacies the ball is inevitably lost too early in possession. This style would move Football on and would differ from the current Spanish model in that there would be fewer sideways and backwards passes and if played at a high pace it would be very difficult to defend against. Of course the technical level would need to be unbelievably high but why not? We need to reclaim Football by putting into place the best youth systems in the world before we can ever hope to win another trophy.

  • Comment number 97.

    I think that the problem th the tournament was tea selection. James Milner played centre midfield for City but England selected him wide. Adam Johnson scored goals in qualifying but was over looked for Downing and Chamberlin in he finals. Micah Richards was good enough for City but not for England. Then we can disguss United players that weren't favoured Carrick and Cleverley for example.

    The inquest needs to ask why we selected as many mid-table premiership players from the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea as we did. It needs to ask which of the current group of players is likely to be around in two years time. Gerrard will be 35, Terry 37, Cole will be 34, Parker will be 33 and GJohnson wil be 30. Not to mention the players that didn't make it such as Barry, Lampard and Ferdinand.

    I'm not being anti-age. I just believe that if we weren't good enough to win a trophey with thoughs players when they were in their prime how can we expect to win anything with them now that they're old.

  • Comment number 98.

    I'm sorry David. You seem to be trying to take you wrongly nelieve to be a populist view as usual but your blog is well wide of the mark. This wasnt satisfactory. Hodgson isnt capable of managing a big side, let alone England. Young and Rooney were abysmal. England cant keep the ball even against the most mediocre of teams.

    Italy murdered us 0-0. Our ineptitude was embarrassing. We got exactly what we deserved: Defeat by a far superior team who ran us into the ground because we were chasing the ball rather than retaining possession. This simply isnt good enough.

    Wake up David and small the reality.

  • Comment number 99.


    Our playing patterns are small details, Young / Rooney tracked back at the managers request and because the entire team did so. Going fowards is more telling, Parker is limited in this capcity, Millner also yet he was still superior to Young who apparently has more natural talent? crazy. As i said in this instance both rooney and young were appalling, but my idea is that the more techincally gifted players can and will give England a platform to play on now, as opposed to some time in the future when Mr Bonds super acadmies churn out a "techincally adpet" world beater

    example replace Parker with Wiltshere, and you'll already have a 30% improvement in ball retention. Mirror that across the team then ask them to start playing football.

    My mine gripe is the likes of Mr Bond talking the same old same old without having having the first clue about where he's coming from or going, been reading football blogs for years and as far as i can see most paid bloggers get paid for - well, nothing really. It's as if were being dictated too by a bunch of rugby/tennis lovers, not football nuts.

  • Comment number 100.

    Here is a thought - if the money coming in from the Sky / BT deal is going to do some good, why don't they bring in a rule saying a proportion of it has to go into youth development. Then the proper care and attention will be paid to coaching the youth, and good youth coaches will be highly sought after. Then hopefully people will stop paying lip service to youth development as they do now when they buy in 17 year olds from a youth development system that actually works.


Page 1 of 2

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.