Only qualified coaches can criticise players and managers…

Date published: Monday 29th March 2021 8:19 - Editor F365

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool

A massive lack of England mails here. Sort it out. Get your mails into the…


All journalists should be qualified coaches
I can’t hold my tongue any longer.

There is a massive growing divide in the world of football and it is fuelled by the utter ignorance of the media and the pundits they employ.

Anyone who has completed at least a C Licence in coaching or an introduction to refereeing course is laughing at the tripe that spews from the mouths and keyboards of those who have not.

This is not a sweeping statement, as there are some very insightful pundits who have taken the time to learn where the game has come from, where the game is now and where it is going, but they are few and far between.

Anyone who criticises three at the back with two 6s as being defensive obviously thinks Pep Guardiola’s Man City are sh*te and Jurgen Klopp’s all conquering Liverpool were just lucky. Yes both Klopp and Guardiola have a formation that starts with a back four, but if you know anything about football, you will know that a formation doesn’t change the scope of the jobs required on the pitch.

Just take 10 minutes to watch Steve Holland’s video for Coaches Voice to understand what I’m talking about.

As coaches, we need to continue our education by consistently attending courses that count towards our annual learning requirements to retain our badges…maybe it is time for those in the media to do the same. You have a massive responsibility not to abuse the platform you have, but it appears most of you are stuck in the 90s or earlier and it is both frustrating and hilarious to see what your are saying.

Please, educate yourselves on the changing nature of football before your next article or comment so we can all start taking you seriously and lay off refereeing decisions until you have spent time in the middle as many of you have not kept up with the rule amendments and you look foolish when you disagree with someone who must know these rules inside and out as part of their profession.

Ok, rant over

Mailbox: England cannot be Greece 2004 and the case for 4-2-3-1…


Three Lions’ formation
The whole 433 debate for England on here recently has me a little puzzled.

The point of England setting up 3 at the back has got far less to do with the CBs; rather we haven’t got a single DM capable of progressing the ball in the way a Fabinho, Partey, Busquets, Ndidi or even Kante can. Without that player, we would be forced to play a 4231 double pivot – putting Henderson and Rice in there (or whatever combo of DMs you like) negates the whole argument of being able to play a fluid 433. Meanwhile, Arsenal, as another poster pointed out, failed in the 343 as they have Xhaka in midfield, Rob Holding at CB and David Luiz shitting the bed with predictable regularity. Why their brand of 343 failed isn’t hard to figure out.

Jude Bellingham, of course, is the answer for England in a 433/4231, while Kalvin Phillips is untested but may develop into a decent back up option. Until these two develop, 433 is out – certainly in a “dominate the ball” type tactic.

As a caveat, Declan Rice as a CB in a 3 is a very tasty option, but as a single pivot in a 433 he neither has the required passing ability or the technique to play in tight spaces. His best attribute is defending on the front foot, intercepting and dribbling/driving forward. He would be allowed to do this much often in a back 3, rather than as a DM (at West Ham he can’t drive forward too much as he has to cover for Soucek). A back 3 of Rice, Stones and Shaw would be a much more aggressive use of the back 3 system.

I would be interested to see how posters would set up their 433 systems, trying to play in a fluid way without getting ripped to shreds by the likes of France and Germany with the current midfield we have. Good luck.
Rob S

Rating the players – Albania 0-2 England 


Loving Lingard
I’m really enjoying watching Jesse Lingard’s renaissance at West Ham. It may be a case of Wilfrid Zaha syndrome -doing better in a team with fewer stellar players- or just having a manager who believes in you, but it’s lovely to see.

He played three games for Man U this season without scoring, but in 6 EPL games for West Ham he’s got 4 goals, equal to his total in 40 appearances last season. It’s staggering.

What’s particularly satisfying -and I’m not a Hammers fan by the way- is that he is in that class of players who haven’t forgotten that it’s meant to be fun to play football every week. Compared to some po-faced pundits or bored footballers, there’s some players whose love of the game is infectious. Eden Hazard is like that at his best (a better player obviously, but the same joie de vivre).
Typified by Lingard scoring a goal, celebrating, having a VAR check, and then going for an elaborate celebration when the goal was given! Love him.
Paul in Brussels

F365 Says: Lingard is the joyous cure for football cynicism

Lingard England

Missing Mick
Funny how many in Ireland couldn’t wait for Kenny to take over from McCarthy – who also seems to get a bad wrap while doing a pretty decent job. His exit usually followed by a much worse period for the team – as the truth hits home.

I recall all the brouhaha about hiring McCarthy being a backwards step and should be doing more to get Kenny in, who was riding high at the time but wanted to see his Dundalk project completed. How he knew Irish players better with his time managing in the League of Ireland.

But here we are with a win % of 0 – yes zero and a loss to Luxembourg.

But this is more about McCarthy who is much maligned. However, you only have to look at his win % with teams he manages and they are always better than his immediate predecessors and those that follow him.

Bet there will be a few crying in their Guinness wishing he was back right now.
Paul McDevitt


…How does it feel to lose to Luxembourg? A question I never thought I’d be asked and an answer I thought I’d never have to articulate. It’s been over 12 hours since the final whistle blew on another dour night at the Aviva and it still doesn’t make much sense.

Luxembourg, 98th in the FIFA world rankings, behind such giants of the game as Haiti, Gabon and Benin, beat Ireland, currently (somehow) ranked as high as 42. A victory for Ireland was the minimum expectation, by two goals would have been acceptable, by three goals and we would have been stockpiling suncream and buying our inflatable hammers for a trip to the desert.

Unfortunately, a victory by even a goal didn’t transpire. Luxembourg, forgetting they were supposed to be the underdogs, kept Ireland at bay quite easily and then had the cheek to actually score one of their attempts on goal. Up until Wednesday, Ireland hadn’t scored a goal in over 600 minutes so with 10 minutes left of the game, the chances of an equaliser were minimal.

But how did it get to this?

It was only 15 or so years ago, Ireland could count on 4 or 5 players playing Champions League football regularly, now we’re lucky if the same amount are playing Premier League football regularly. As it turned out, there was only one player who played in the Champions League this season and he was wearing red, not green. Instead, Ireland scours the lower leagues for English born players to play for the country of their parents or grandparents. In retrospect why were Ireland favourites at all?

Bar the odd game every few years, watching them has become torturous. Losing is upsetting, falling asleep while losing is worse. I’d imagine it’s much like watching Newcastle. But I decide never to put myself through that for obvious reasons. However, when the chance comes to watch Jeff Hendrick coming off the bench in the 60th minute in a green, rather than black and white, shirt, it somehow excites me.

In the end, losing to Luxembourg really means nothing. We have known about the dearth of quality in the Irish squad for a while, but we’re ever the optimists. The loss confirms, if it needed confirming, that we are nowhere near good enough to qualify for major tournaments. It’s a little bit embarrassing as traditionally Luxembourg falls into the category of whipping boys but not really. At least, the loss should erode any hope going into the other qualifying games, and that can only be a good thing.

In the meantime, there’s the meaningless friendly against Qatar in Hungary to look forward to…


While there were plenty of good points made about Champions League reform in the article by Jacque Talbot, I completely disagree that pre-qualifying for the World Cup would be a bad idea. Indeed, I wrote into the mailbox last week with just such a proposal.

First of all, it’s important to note that Europe is currently the outlier when it comes to allowing the smaller nations direct access to the qualification process. The only other regions that do this are South America and Oceania, who have only 10 and 11 teams attempting to qualify. Asia, Africa and North America, numbers of teams more similar to Europe, all have some form of pre-qualification in place. This therefore would not be a new idea, it would be falling in line with the rest of the World.

Going back to the article, there are plenty of arguments that just don’t hold any water. Brazil is cited as an example of a team who would somehow not have developed as a nation. When would this have been? Brazil have never been a minnow of international football and have been competitive since the first World Cup in 1930. Norway is also mentioned amongst the ‘minnows’, but Norway is ranked 44th in the World. No one is suggesting teams like that would not participate in the full process.

I also take issue with the idea that a team like Luxembourg wouldn’t be able to improve if they had to take part in pre-qualifying. Why? Indeed, who’s to say that they wouldn’t improve MORE with more games against teams at their level? Who’s to say Luxembourg’s recent improvement isn’t a result of the Nations League matches they’ve played recently, rather than the games against the top sides? I daresay San Marino would learn more with playing against Luxembourg or Andorra than they would getting tonked by England and barely seeing the ball.

The article also makes out that pre-qualifying cuts these teams adrift. It doesn’t. It simply makes all teams have to earn the right to compete. My proposal, which would take the bottom 15 European nations out of the process had 8 playoff spots available for them to try and break into the top 40. That would create a huge amount of meaning for their qualification process. Any pre-qualification system is merit based. You are not throwing teams out based on size or reputation. The process is open to all sides, if you are good enough.

There is also however the reality to face that some teams will never improve. San Marino has a population of 33,000 as does Gibraltar. Andorra is 77,000. These nations are never, ever going to be competitive. They simply don’t have the population. So why not rejig the qualifiers to avoid mismatches, bring a competitive element in for these nations and avoid the stroll in the park that took place on Thursday night.
Mike, LFC, London

Pre-qualifying just another awful idea in pursuit of change

Shoehorning the best players
I’ve always been interested in nations with only a one genuine great player that carries the team. But what’s more intriguing is when they have two who play the same position and how they shoe-horn them in. For example, Kieran Tierney and Andy Robertson for Scotland both great left backs.

Other examples from the past could include, Zamorano and Salas (though they could both play up front)
Back home, we always had Bosnich (when he was good) and Schwarzer and there was always a debate as to who should be in goal.

Are there any others people can think of?


Tears for Luka
International football can be and is a dire proportion most of the time. The international football is not even on same planet as club football. I don’t think I am being controversial when I say that, but my goodness international football pulls the main string of the bow which is the absolute emotion of it. When I saw the Modric video of Croatia FA and players gave him a standing ovation for just having got most caps for Croatia. And he got very emotional, and by god I started to cry like a baby as well. I I am not a supporter of Croatia or Modric but I don’t think club football would have made me cry if a player had gotten most Appearances . Now I have to explain to my wife why I was crying at Modric video. Hope she understand or else I will be in the doghouse and not for the first time too!


Arsenal’s unbeatable French XI
In response to Henri’s Man United French XI – It would never beat this Arsenal French XI. In fact I don’t think a single club’s international XI could beat this team:


Sagna Gallas Koscielny Clichy

Nasri Petit Vieira Pires

Anelka Henry

Subs: Wiltord, Lacazette, Diaby, Guendouzi, Coquelin, Flamini, Diarra, Debuchy,

Ash (London)


Three so far
Completely random but has anyone ever noticed how many phenomenal football journalists support Forest. Daniels Storey and Taylor, Nick Miller. Obviously not just football managers Clough inspired.
Paul (it’s international week!)

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