English Soccer: Getting Exactly What You Put In And Develop

It seems articles like this pop up every 10 years or so when it comes to England's national soccer team.

Today it's Spain. Tomorrow Germany. Another time Italy.

"At 15 he was spotted by scouts from an English Championship side and asked over for a week of trials. The team is now in the Premier League, but was then top of the second tier. He was treated well, and the facilities were fantastic -- certainly as good as in Spain -- but he was mystified by the training routines, which he found oddly basic, and the matches played among the squad players in which he was criticised by the coach for trying to build the play from the back with horizontal passes to the full-backs, when he had felt it was necessary.

In fact, everything he'd been taught in Spain as a midfielder -- to wait patiently for openings and then to switch directions and probe -- seemed to count for very little at this club. The English idea was to get the ball in quickly to the forwards, and that was about it."

I see things haven't changed since I last heard that criticism...back in the 1980s. In the 1990s, Alan Fotheringham of McLean's absolutely ripped English arrogance for thinking it was on par with the likes of Brazil, Germany, Italy and Argentina.

Back in 2012 following Italy's penalty kicks win over England, I was incensed over England's performance and the pitiful and pathetic reporting by the English press in the aftermath.

More delusional it could not be. The English - encouraged by its (sometimes) insufferable press and pundits -  saw a heroic and sparking display of defensive play. The rest of the sane world saw a tired, unimaginative English side decimated and outclassed by a superiour Italian side clinging on to any dignity it may have had left.

At one point, the English simply ceded the middle of the field (a part of the pitch Italy has generally been brilliant in over the years) and let the Italians march right in. It was Italian lack of finish that saved them.

English stubbornness was evident under Fabio Capello's short tenure as England manager. Simply,  England did not seem to be committed to winning. Known as a disciplinarian, Capello's style didn't mesh well with the celebrity culture known as English soccer.

True, England isn't that bad. They do have quality players. They're just not up to par on coaching and tactics. A shame really given its legacy and deep soccer roots.

All this to say. Don't be surprised if England doesn't win in 2014. The article explains it well.

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