Watching England in the World Cup and Great Britain in the Olympics – the spectator would not be mistaken in thinking that national football was on the decline. Kids are taught less about technical skill and more about becoming a strong, athletic competitor. It begs the question of how much football in England has progressed compared to the likes of Spain, Brazil and Italy in recent years.
It can be argued that Brazil and Spain are both technically better, more composed on the ball, happy to pass until an opportunity presents itself. The skill that their teams possess often surpasses that of England, what makes it more impressive is the age range of these teams. Only a few players in Spain and Italy are over 25 years old, whilst many of the ‘Three Lion’s’ servants are nearing 30 or over that age, yet the younger players for the other countries perform to a higher level.
What is the reason for this confidence on the part of the managers to put them in such high profile games? A lot of the reason for the confidence and high performances is the difference in training.
Young lads who make it to clubs in England are still continuing the same training regimes of years gone by. Where the academies are run on results and older players are put into games to ensure wins. As well as this, tall, strong and athletic players are taken on.
Would Lionel Messi as a young lad be given a chance in British Academy’s with his height and strength issues?
If you look at Spanish football in particular they’re players are nurtured and brought on by training staff. The results in the game don’t matter, it’s more about the performance and the learning curves they take. All the mistakes they make in a game are forgotten so that by the time they perform at the highest level they know what to do, it is seen week in week out in Spanish football as young stars give the performances to warrant National call ups.
Brazilian football is a wonderful example of flourishing players are given a chance at a younger age, a perfect example of this is Ganso, who at the age of 22 has already made 50 starts for Santos. This shows the belief that is installed in these players which makes them better players.
You look at the England team that participated in Euro 2012 and take away the injured players, the main youth selected was in attack and they flourished, put belief in the youth and the results will follow.
It will just take a forward thinker to back the youth.