Open Thread: What Now For England?

England are out!

And the enquiry has begun.

We want to know what should happen next at The FA and in youth football in general.

Please add your thoughts on what’s wrong with youth development in your country: What works and what needs to go? Who’s to blame? What ideas should be implemented? Anything goes…

85 thoughts on “Open Thread: What Now For England?

  1. You guys think you have it bad. I’m weighing in here from western Canada. We can’t even field a decent team to challenge for the Concacaf title. Why? All the reasons above, especially the point about transition from youth to senior – our pro leagues are really lame. Plus, anyone who’s got real potential heads to europe with a passport grandfathered from their grandfather – like Owen Hargreaves or Jonathan de Guzman (now of netherlands). and who can blame them? you want to play in the world cup? Canada’s only been there once – mexico ’86. and we didn’t even score a goal. Luckily we have hockey, or I’d be really depressed right now.
    Here in BC it rains all winter and barely snows (very similar to a northern eurpean climate) so soccer is a year-round sport. The youth coaching is surprisingly good. but the infrastructure beyond that is almost non-existant. England at least has a chance. I was born in London so if my kids are any good, I’m sending them over.

  2. You guys think you have it bad. I'm weighing in here from western Canada. We can't even field a decent team to challenge for the Concacaf title. Why? All the reasons above, especially the point about transition from youth to senior – our pro leagues are really lame. Plus, anyone who's got real potential heads to europe with a passport grandfathered from their grandfather – like Owen Hargreaves or Jonathan de Guzman (now of netherlands). and who can blame them? you want to play in the world cup? Canada's only been there once – mexico '86. and we didn't even score a goal. Luckily we have hockey, or I'd be really depressed right now. Here in BC it rains all winter and barely snows (very similar to a northern eurpean climate) so soccer is a year-round sport. The youth coaching is surprisingly good. but the infrastructure beyond that is almost non-existant. England at least has a chance. I was born in London so if my kids are any good, I'm sending them over.

  3. You guys think you have it bad. I'm weighing in here from western Canada. We can't even field a decent team to challenge for the Concacaf title. Why? All the reasons above, especially the point about transition from youth to senior – our pro leagues are really lame. Plus, anyone who's got real potential heads to europe with a passport grandfathered from their grandfather – like Owen Hargreaves or Jonathan de Guzman (now of netherlands). and who can blame them? you want to play in the world cup? Canada's only been there once – mexico '86. and we didn't even score a goal. Luckily we have hockey, or I'd be really depressed right now. Here in BC it rains all winter and barely snows (very similar to a northern eurpean climate) so soccer is a year-round sport. The youth coaching is surprisingly good. but the infrastructure beyond that is almost non-existant. England at least has a chance. I was born in London so if my kids are any good, I'm sending them over.

  4. Hi PavlJust a brief point re kick and rush lower league football, the problem with this is that much of the lower leaugue football is improving and when the football is poor it's generally due to the skill or lack of it of the Coach(s) from a very early age the player is often taught by a willing parent, with little or no knowledge due to Football often thought as having to be accessable to everyone, so if someone offers to do it, everyone is extremely grateful.Do you see this happening in Golf,Tennis,etc..no! because it is thought to Coach in these Sports you need to have either excellent Coaching ability or years of Professional experience . Due to this the 'Learner/Student' parents will pay for quality Coaching and expect certain results achievements.As an FA Qualified Coach, it certainly wasn't easy to pass, quite the opposite on my Level 2 Cert only 25% passed back in 2000. The biggest issue was that in most cases the structure being taught was about 10 years out of date compared to most other major european countries.The FA is still slow in moving things forward but to be fair it is improving, what I would like to see is a alternative structure of Coaching and Development within local Communities, similar to Holland , where the better players are not all eaten up my the Professional Clubs but allowed to stay within their own Clubs , raising the standard of Local Football, whilst being monitored by a Parent Professional Club. This also allows more finance to go into the Community and allows for a structure within each Club and the sharing of better facilities with other local Communities.Also having a Coaching Cert/Award from an independant Company that is recognised would take some pressure off of the FA and allow, I think a greater flexibility of dates etc along with the ability to evolve the courses quicker , moving with the latest trends across Europe and South America.Sorry to go on so long and I apologise ,if it seems as though I'm moaning. It's not meant to sound that way, as a Sports Psychologist and Motivational Coach ,( still often looked upon today as being unnecessary in football !) I feel it's paramount that we lose the arrogance that we invented football and open our eyes and ears to what's happening elsewhere along with ensuring that the future generation grow up inspired and motivated to play Football not shackled by out of date Coaching Principles and yesterdays memories.A great source of inspiration and Youth development Knowledge is Chris Green's excellent book 'Every Boy's Dream'…essential reading to every Coach and Parent interested in football !

  5. Hi PavlJust a brief point re kick and rush lower league football, the problem with this is that much of the lower leaugue football is improving and when the football is poor it's generally due to the skill or lack of it of the Coach(s) from a very early age the player is often taught by a willing parent, with little or no knowledge due to Football often thought as having to be accessable to everyone, so if someone offers to do it, everyone is extremely grateful.Do you see this happening in Golf,Tennis,etc..no! because it is thought to Coach in these Sports you need to have either excellent Coaching ability or years of Professional experience . Due to this the 'Learner/Student' parents will pay for quality Coaching and expect certain results achievements.As an FA Qualified Coach, it certainly wasn't easy to pass, quite the opposite on my Level 2 Cert only 25% passed back in 2000. The biggest issue was that in most cases the structure being taught was about 10 years out of date compared to most other major european countries.The FA is still slow in moving things forward but to be fair it is improving, what I would like to see is a alternative structure of Coaching and Development within local Communities, similar to Holland , where the better players are not all eaten up my the Professional Clubs but allowed to stay within their own Clubs , raising the standard of Local Football, whilst being monitored by a Parent Professional Club. This also allows more finance to go into the Community and allows for a structure within each Club and the sharing of better facilities with other local Communities.Also having a Coaching Cert/Award from an independant Company that is recognised would take some pressure off of the FA and allow, I think a greater flexibility of dates etc along with the ability to evolve the courses quicker , moving with the latest trends across Europe and South America.Sorry to go on so long and I apologise ,if it seems as though I'm moaning. It's not meant to sound that way, as a Sports Psychologist and Motivational Coach ,( still often looked upon today as being unnecessary in football !) I feel it's paramount that we lose the arrogance that we invented football and open our eyes and ears to what's happening elsewhere along with ensuring that the future generation grow up inspired and motivated to play Football not shackled by out of date Coaching Principles and yesterdays memories.A great source of inspiration and Youth development Knowledge is Chris Green's excellent book 'Every Boy's Dream'…essential reading to every Coach and Parent interested in football !

  6. My Thoughts on the England performance and beyond.

    the 23 who went were tried and tested players from previous years. Out of these players D James was carrying injury and had poor season, A Cole, been injured and not played much, J Terry all the fuse in his life away from football. G Johnson Poor Season at Liverpool along with J carrigar and S Gerard. Milner was ILL, G.Barry Injured and poor season, W Rooney looked like he was carry an injury still ( ankle problems), E Hesky hardly played any club football, R Green & M Upson awful season at their clubs. That’s a lot of baggage to take to a major tournament.

    With regards to the games i think we tried to put square pegs in round holes. Just looking at the germany game and the 2 c/b backs. J Terry is use to playing more on the left with England, M upson was playing there and his positioning was poor, terry kept drifting across to the left which left massive gaps between Johnson and terry which the Germans took full advantage of. the so called ” world class” players looked like they were trying to go for glory all the time rather than keeping it simple. Football is a simple game and we tried to make it complicated. for sure playing 4-4-2 didn’t work for the England team and playing players out of their normal comfort zone is a risk which we tried and as shown failed.

    we didn’t take enough balance to the world cup in the squad. i was surprised that people like Johnson, bent and Walcott were left at home. these players are hungry and want to impress. the England squad has to many players who don’t care if they win or lose. Away from the prem-league etc if you asked any English player would he want to play for England i bet they would all most give blood to put on a shirt and play. Club has no doubt overtaking country.

    You can have all the best coaches, experts, managers in a team but if the mentality of the players isn’t right there is no way they will make it work. Players need to want to play for their country not expect to play.

    I’ve been coaching many year snow from 5year olds to 18year olds with varied abilities. One thing for sure that has all ways worked for me is a getting the balance and the mentality of the players right. Results haven’t always been great but they have tried and are willing to try and wanting to do well. Of course they don’t get the financial rewards of the pro’s but i encourage them to express rather than train them to system that is very rigid and not flexible. A game may start at 4-4-2 but during the game the system changes to the players on the pitch and who they are playing against. There is a clear difference between knowing your job and doing your job and i think the Current England players have lost this.

    • One of the things that amazed me during the World Cup was the difficulty that professional footballers, who have trained 20 hours a week for most of their lives, seemed to have in understanding basic tactical concepts.

      The exact same instructions are given – and understood – at Sunday league games across the country every weekend. Yet senior professionals were seen to make fundamental error after fundamental error.

      Personally, I don’t think passion is anything to do with it, but you hit the nail bang on the head when you question the mentality of the players.

      It’s great to see that you appreciate the importance of the psychological side of the game, and all coaches should remember the four corners (physical, psychological, technical and social) are equally important when planning sessions.

  7. My Thoughts on the England performance and beyond.the 23 who went were tried and tested players from previous years. Out of these players D James was carrying injury and had poor season, A Cole, been injured and not played much, J Terry all the fuse in his life away from football. G Johnson Poor Season at Liverpool along with J carrigar and S Gerard. Milner was ILL, G.Barry Injured and poor season, W Rooney looked like he was carry an injury still ( ankle problems), E Hesky hardly played any club football, R Green & M Upson awful season at their clubs. That’s a lot of baggage to take to a major tournament.With regards to the games i think we tried to put square pegs in round holes. Just looking at the germany game and the 2 c/b backs. J Terry is use to playing more on the left with England, M upson was playing there and his positioning was poor, terry kept drifting across to the left which left massive gaps between Johnson and terry which the Germans took full advantage of. the so called ” world class” players looked like they were trying to go for glory all the time rather than keeping it simple. Football is a simple game and we tried to make it complicated. for sure playing 4-4-2 didn’t work for the England team and playing players out of their normal comfort zone is a risk which we tried and as shown failed.we didn’t take enough balance to the world cup in the squad. i was surprised that people like Johnson, bent and Walcott were left at home. these players are hungry and want to impress. the England squad has to many players who don’t care if they win or lose. Away from the prem-league etc if you asked any English player would he want to play for England i bet they would all most give blood to put on a shirt and play. Club has no doubt overtaking country.You can have all the best coaches, experts, managers in a team but if the mentality of the players isn’t right there is no way they will make it work. Players need to want to play for their country not expect to play.I’ve been coaching many year snow from 5year olds to 18year olds with varied abilities. One thing for sure that has all ways worked for me is a getting the balance and the mentality of the players right. Results haven’t always been great but they have tried and are willing to try and wanting to do well. Of course they don’t get the financial rewards of the pro’s but i encourage them to express rather than train them to system that is very rigid and not flexible. A game may start at 4-4-2 but during the game the system changes to the players on the pitch and who they are playing against. There is a clear difference between knowing your job and doing your job and i think the Current England players have lost this.

  8. My Thoughts on the England performance and beyond.the 23 who went were tried and tested players from previous years. Out of these players D James was carrying injury and had poor season, A Cole, been injured and not played much, J Terry all the fuse in his life away from football. G Johnson Poor Season at Liverpool along with J carrigar and S Gerard. Milner was ILL, G.Barry Injured and poor season, W Rooney looked like he was carry an injury still ( ankle problems), E Hesky hardly played any club football, R Green & M Upson awful season at their clubs. That’s a lot of baggage to take to a major tournament.With regards to the games i think we tried to put square pegs in round holes. Just looking at the germany game and the 2 c/b backs. J Terry is use to playing more on the left with England, M upson was playing there and his positioning was poor, terry kept drifting across to the left which left massive gaps between Johnson and terry which the Germans took full advantage of. the so called ” world class” players looked like they were trying to go for glory all the time rather than keeping it simple. Football is a simple game and we tried to make it complicated. for sure playing 4-4-2 didn’t work for the England team and playing players out of their normal comfort zone is a risk which we tried and as shown failed.we didn’t take enough balance to the world cup in the squad. i was surprised that people like Johnson, bent and Walcott were left at home. these players are hungry and want to impress. the England squad has to many players who don’t care if they win or lose. Away from the prem-league etc if you asked any English player would he want to play for England i bet they would all most give blood to put on a shirt and play. Club has no doubt overtaking country.You can have all the best coaches, experts, managers in a team but if the mentality of the players isn’t right there is no way they will make it work. Players need to want to play for their country not expect to play.I’ve been coaching many year snow from 5year olds to 18year olds with varied abilities. One thing for sure that has all ways worked for me is a getting the balance and the mentality of the players right. Results haven’t always been great but they have tried and are willing to try and wanting to do well. Of course they don’t get the financial rewards of the pro’s but i encourage them to express rather than train them to system that is very rigid and not flexible. A game may start at 4-4-2 but during the game the system changes to the players on the pitch and who they are playing against. There is a clear difference between knowing your job and doing your job and i think the Current England players have lost this.

  9. Geoff, far from moaning, you make some excellent points.It seems that there is a broad variance between coach's experience of Level 2 courses – and no doubt the other levels of qualification as well. That your instructors felt only 25% of candidates met the standard required should be commended, as there's clearly some instructors who are happy to pass anyone that turns up for the assessment. In that case an external body who has oversight might be the answer, however I think The FA already has the reach and infrastructure to roll out courses much more quickly and in more locations than they currently do. I would worry that setting up another organisation to take on this role would be expensive and inevitably take far longer to create an adequately scalable system?If you don't mind, I'm going to pinch your tennis analogy next time I have to present the case for better coach education!

  10. Geoff, far from moaning, you make some excellent points.It seems that there is a broad variance between coach's experience of Level 2 courses – and no doubt the other levels of qualification as well. That your instructors felt only 25% of candidates met the standard required should be commended, as there's clearly some instructors who are happy to pass anyone that turns up for the assessment. In that case an external body who has oversight might be the answer, however I think The FA already has the reach and infrastructure to roll out courses much more quickly and in more locations than they currently do. I would worry that setting up another organisation to take on this role would be expensive and inevitably take far longer to create an adequately scalable system?If you don't mind, I'm going to pinch your tennis analogy next time I have to present the case for better coach education!

  11. One of the things that amazed me during the World Cup was the difficulty that professional footballers, who have trained 20 hours a week for most of their lives, seemed to have in understanding basic tactical concepts.The exact same instructions are given – and understood – at Sunday league games across the country every weekend. Yet senior professionals were seen to make fundamental error after fundamental error.Personally, I don't think passion is anything to do with it, but you hit the nail bang on the head when you question the mentality of the players.It's great to see that you appreciate the importance of the psychological side of the game, and all coaches should remember the four corners (physical, psychological, technical and social) are equally important when planning sessions.

  12. One of the things that amazed me during the World Cup was the difficulty that professional footballers, who have trained 20 hours a week for most of their lives, seemed to have in understanding basic tactical concepts.The exact same instructions are given – and understood – at Sunday league games across the country every weekend. Yet senior professionals were seen to make fundamental error after fundamental error.Personally, I don't think passion is anything to do with it, but you hit the nail bang on the head when you question the mentality of the players.It's great to see that you appreciate the importance of the psychological side of the game, and all coaches should remember the four corners (physical, psychological, technical and social) are equally important when planning sessions.

  13. Hi PavlThanks for your comments, i agree with your thoughts on the FA, along with many of the other guys I'm just concerned that there are too few Courses in many county FA's , i was also saddened this Year that hampshire FA due to economic cutbacks had voted not to field either a Hants REps Under 18's or Under 16's this coming season.Having managed the Under !6's with much success season 2008/09 , building strong links with Clubs and Parents as a priority to my objectives and to also build strong relationships with the Professional Clubs in the South, often having several scouts at the matches, I feel again money is being 'saved ' in the wrong areas , where the FA has the opportunity to build bridges with local clubs, parents and the Players themselves…but spends more money on administration and logistics which is not seen as being directly beneficial to the Communities the FA is saying it wants to support.The FA in local football is often see in a 'dim light' as the governing body that sets the rules and lays down the punishment eg. Fines and bans etc rather than being a supportive structure to benfit the game and support the 'Local community football initiatives…and when they gat the opportunity as with Reps Football they neither communicate the principle behind it properly or cancel it all together.I have several discussions topics running on my company Facebook …Focus in Sport and the Blog of the same name, if anyone would like to add comments.Thanks again Pavl

  14. Hi PavlThanks for your comments, i agree with your thoughts on the FA, along with many of the other guys I'm just concerned that there are too few Courses in many county FA's , i was also saddened this Year that hampshire FA due to economic cutbacks had voted not to field either a Hants REps Under 18's or Under 16's this coming season.Having managed the Under !6's with much success season 2008/09 , building strong links with Clubs and Parents as a priority to my objectives and to also build strong relationships with the Professional Clubs in the South, often having several scouts at the matches, I feel again money is being 'saved ' in the wrong areas , where the FA has the opportunity to build bridges with local clubs, parents and the Players themselves…but spends more money on administration and logistics which is not seen as being directly beneficial to the Communities the FA is saying it wants to support.The FA in local football is often see in a 'dim light' as the governing body that sets the rules and lays down the punishment eg. Fines and bans etc rather than being a supportive structure to benfit the game and support the 'Local community football initiatives…and when they gat the opportunity as with Reps Football they neither communicate the principle behind it properly or cancel it all together.I have several discussions topics running on my company Facebook …Focus in Sport and the Blog of the same name, if anyone would like to add comments.Thanks again Pavl

  15. Another Canuck here. I believe part of the problem is too much reliance on organizations and not enough “ball at feet” everywhere and always — those cultures where the ball is kicked to school and back, and played with at every possible break in the day will always outperform those cultures that depend solely upon organized opportunities to play. I agree that the organizations must be improved as many of you have pointed out, but I think the results will still disappoint as long as players don’t spend much of the day with a ball at their feet from sheer love of the game before they even enter a structured football environment. For the inevitable hockey analogy from a Canadian, you don’t get Wayne Gretzkys from the OHL, but rather countless backyard rinks like that particular one in Brantford in the ’70s …

  16. Another Canuck here. I believe part of the problem is too much reliance on organizations and not enough “ball at feet” everywhere and always — those cultures where the ball is kicked to school and back, and played with at every possible break in the day will always outperform those cultures that depend solely upon organized opportunities to play. I agree that the organizations must be improved as many of you have pointed out, but I think the results will still disappoint as long as players don't spend much of the day with a ball at their feet from sheer love of the game before they even enter a structured football environment. For the inevitable hockey analogy from a Canadian, you don't get Wayne Gretzkys from the OHL, but rather countless backyard rinks like that particular one in Brantford in the '70s …

  17. Another Canuck here. I believe part of the problem is too much reliance on organizations and not enough “ball at feet” everywhere and always — those cultures where the ball is kicked to school and back, and played with at every possible break in the day will always outperform those cultures that depend solely upon organized opportunities to play. I agree that the organizations must be improved as many of you have pointed out, but I think the results will still disappoint as long as players don't spend much of the day with a ball at their feet from sheer love of the game before they even enter a structured football environment. For the inevitable hockey analogy from a Canadian, you don't get Wayne Gretzkys from the OHL, but rather countless backyard rinks like that particular one in Brantford in the '70s …

  18. The blame for the England teams performance in south Africa can be put solely on the gravy train that is the F.A. They make all the right noises as far as our national team is concerned but when it comes to real help they do little to next to nothing. Youth development in this country in is a joke. It is not an accident that the country’s that do well in the game I.e Germany, France Spain, Italy ,Holland, have large amounts of investment at grass roots level. We do not and that’s despite having the richest league in the world. What do you expect from a load of business men that run the game.All there decision making is money based.That is why the F.A school of excellence at lilleshaw was shut down and the F.A school at Burton was moth balled. They left youth development to the clubs and the clubs went out and bought players instead.
    And if the situation doesn’t improve then the English manager whoever he may be will be picking the England team from the second or even the third tier of English football.

  19. The blame for the England teams performance in south Africa can be put solely on the gravy train that is the F.A. They make all the right noises as far as our national team is concerned but when it comes to real help they do little to next to nothing. Youth development in this country in is a joke. It is not an accident that the country's that do well in the game I.e Germany, France Spain, Italy ,Holland, have large amounts of investment at grass roots level. We do not and that's despite having the richest league in the world. What do you expect from a load of business men that run the game.All there decision making is money based.That is why the F.A school of excellence at lilleshaw was shut down and the F.A school at Burton was moth balled. They left youth development to the clubs and the clubs went out and bought players instead.And if the situation doesn't improve then the English manager whoever he may be will be picking the England team from the second or even the third tier of English football.

  20. Since 1970 Englands managers have won all the domestic and European cups between them, so it is not down to the management. Italy used to be the richest league in the 1980s and that never stopped them from doing well at national level. Spain, Italy and Germany have had there fair share of foreigners plying there trade in their respective leagues, that has not stopped them winning European and world cups.

    Whose to blame then, well in some ways we are all to blame. The FA for not having a national style of play and coaches able to coach to a high enough standard. Not enough youth coaches are able to make a living out of coaching.

    Children do not play enough anymore, when they do it is all about winning. Also adults need to sometimes just stay away and let the kids play, clock up those hours and they will get better without coaches anyway. Grassroot children are now coached far more than my generation, but the standard has dropped, simply too much adult interference, poor coaching and not enough playing.

    Our big problem is lack of skill, but not only is it important that we develop players with great technique, we as a NATION must allow children to try and run at players without adults telling them to pass the ball, or get rid, or what is the point in teaching technique. Our football I.D. has always been about hardwork, as fans we do not normally like the lazy player who can turn a game with a piece of magic, we like the player who chases every ball. So developing technique and skill is really important, but children at all levels must be allowed to be creative, that will be harder to achieve with parents and coaches alike, who only ever talk about passing the ball and judge how well the team is doing by how many games they win……..

    League formats are about to change, we will see 5v5, 7v7, 9v9, then 11v11 at 13+, this will help players get more of the ball and by the time they are playing 11v11 they should be just about big enough to cope with full size pitches.

    Better facilities is not really an issue (Africans still produce players), it is more about having enough places to play in the winter months.

    ITS A CULTURE CHANGE WE NEED.

  21. Since 1970 Englands managers have won all the domestic and European cups between them, so it is not down to the management. Italy used to be the richest league in the 1980s and that never stopped them from doing well at national level. Spain, Italy and Germany have had there fair share of foreigners plying there trade in their respective leagues, that has not stopped them winning European and world cups.Whose to blame then, well in some ways we are all to blame. The FA for not having a national style of play and coaches able to coach to a high enough standard. Not enough youth coaches are able to make a living out of coaching.Children do not play enough anymore, when they do it is all about winning. Also adults need to sometimes just stay away and let the kids play, clock up those hours and they will get better without coaches anyway. Grassroot children are now coached far more than my generation, but the standard has dropped, simply too much adult interference, poor coaching and not enough playing. Our big problem is lack of skill, but not only is it important that we develop players with great technique, we as a NATION must allow children to try and run at players without adults telling them to pass the ball, or get rid, or what is the point in teaching technique. Our football I.D. has always been about hardwork, as fans we do not normally like the lazy player who can turn a game with a piece of magic, we like the player who chases every ball. So developing technique and skill is really important, but children at all levels must be allowed to be creative, that will be harder to achieve with parents and coaches alike, who only ever talk about passing the ball and judge how well the team is doing by how many games they win……..League formats are about to change, we will see 5v5, 7v7, 9v9, then 11v11 at 13+, this will help players get more of the ball and by the time they are playing 11v11 they should be just about big enough to cope with full size pitches.Better facilities is not really an issue (Africans still produce players), it is more about having enough places to play in the winter months.ITS A CULTURE CHANGE WE NEED.

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