Young England talent can’t prosper in cut-throat Prem

Date published: Tuesday 31st October 2017 7:30

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Prem competitiveness comes at a cost
To add to the discussions about English managers (and indeed youngsters) progressing through the ranks, I think the biggest hurdle is the pressure of the Premier League itself.

Whilst we enjoy the league’s competitiveness, and the fact that there are six or seven ‘big’ clubs in the Premier League, it’s this very fact that holds us back. It’s a cut-throat world where instant results are lauded over long-term planning. Fans and chairmen are hungry for immediate success, and only very rarely work with the longer-term in mind. Whilst it would be in most club’s best interests to introduce more youngsters into their teams in an attempt to create new footballing superstars, that requires time and patience that many fans, managers and chairman do not have.

Now, compare this to the situation in Germany, where (realistically) only one team can win the title. Sure, Dortmund gatecrashed the party a couple of times, but essentially we know that Bayern will probably win most German titles for the foreseeable future. With no pressure on any of the other clubs to win the league, it gives them the chance to experiment a bit more. Germany is a hotbed of young players and managers getting chances, and this all comes about because no-one expects the likes of Hertha, Bremen or Borussia Moenchengladbach to win the league. They’re just happy to potter around the league, enjoying the occasional European campaign, and throwing youngsters into the mix either to develop themselves into home grown stars or be hoovered up by Bayern.

Whilst the league title may be a foregone conclusion, this means that some of the finest young minds in management can experiment with new ideas and new players, without as much pressure heaped upon them as their English counterparts. The middle echelons of the Bundesliga are basically a living, breathing football laboratory, and the German national team are reaping the benefits. The average age of a Bundesliga coach is five years lower than in England. When England U21s played their German counterparts in a match last March, the England team had 206 top-flight appearances between them (with Jack Grealish on 34 being the most experienced); the Germans had 1,137 (with Matthias Ginter on 129)!

It’s also arguable that the higher-pressure of the Premier League is stunting our club’s performances in Europe: when we had a regular ‘big four’ who got into the Champions League every season, English teams seemed to do well. With stalwarts such as Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea missing out on the CL in recent years, they’re no longer able to take anything for granted. When you consider that the likes of Bayern, PSG, Juve, Barca and Real Madrid are never in any danger whatsoever of missing out on the CL spots, it means they can afford to take their eye off the ball somewhat in the league, and put more emphasis on Europe. Not so in England, where CL qualification is not a given for even the ‘super’ clubs, who have to put as much effort (if not more) into the league as they do in Europe.

In short, I see it as a trade-off. We love the Premier League for its competitiveness, and for the number of big teams we have challenging at the very top. We often point to the likes of the German, Italian, Spanish and French leagues with a sense of superiority, given that (barring the odd freak season), the same few names always end up at the top. But with that extra competitiveness comes a downside – and that manifests itself in mediocre (recent) performances in Europe, and less chances for younger, more inexperienced players and managers.
Ryan F


English management culture a wider problem
Interesting email from Josh, AFC, Dubai but I feel it misses one important point – UK management culture as a whole.

I work for a major European car manufacturer, I have worked in Europe for many different companies and also in China and India. I believe that this gives me a better insight into global management philosophies than a parochial football website in Leeds ever could.

British managers are just working within the UK management framework. This is defined by nepotism, networking and political skill with very little ability or intelligence. It’s more about entitlement and status rather than ability.

European managers are highly qualified, skilled individuals. However, they also have the political skill, nous and awareness of their UK counterparts, this is coupled with intelligence and ability so that they can do the job when they get it. In the UK it’s about getting the job however you can and then use political skill to remain there, blaming all your faults on others. See the UK government.

The problem is that all managers in this country have bought into this philosophy and it is accepted across the board and is therefore no different for football managers.

Our office in the UK is known across the world as being stuffy. We all have to wear suits whereas the rest of the world wears whatever they want (just as an example). However, this has been noticed by HQ management and are making huge changes at management level to bring the corporate culture of the European HQ to the UK. Many UK managers are just trying to get to retirement and are scared witless by these new changes as it means that they will have to know something about the area they are managing.

So what I am saying is that you can’t blame UK managers for using the tools at their disposal in order to get a job. That is how it works in this country. Until you change the culture of the entire British populace, you will be stuck decrying things that you can do nothing about, because you don’t know how it works.

I’m not saying that this is right, it is just how it is. Foreign managers will often be better qualified but will they be able to understand the warped logic of the UK class system? This is what the UK managers try to use to their advantage, and considering that is how it has always been, who can blame them?

Reverse Xenophobes
Fat Man Scouse, EFC


Possession is everything
England youth teams have won Championships great. So why can’t our men’s team?

The problems why England team at a senior level is struggling iare deep reaching and complicated but two of the reasons in my opinion are referee’s and English managers

In this country we laud Big Sam, we heap praise on Sean Dyche; Tony Pulis has been held up as top managers why? Lumping a ball to Chris Wood, Sandon Rondon or in the day Andy Carroll is not good football it may be effective ask Lukaku but its not good football.

Referees in this country allow the battles with the defenders and attackers to happen which makes for an exciting game but this is the rub in European Championships and World Cups referees nearly always blow for fouls. This mean there are no 2nd balls to chase on to no continuation of play. Pep Guardiola when talking about the West Brom game stated that the 2nd ball was so important and so difficult to defend. He has also been on record to say that the biggest difference in England to Spain and Germany is the referees but no-one has asked him to explain those differences and what it means for our game.

In the recent youth games that I watched there was no hoof ball to the giant centre forward the ball was kept on the floor played from the back through midfield and England understood that possession was crucial. Until the powers that be recognise that possession football is everything and tell the referees to ref matches as though it was a European game then England will always be at a disadvantage when it comes to Championship football as they will have not been used to playing that way

The difficulty with these changes is the Premier league may not be as exciting to watch and is it a price we are prepared to pay?
Dave H


Deity Dyche
There’s so much being written and discussed about Sean “God” Dyche that I thought I’d chip in and offer a few words.

Firstly, this season so far has been nothing short of amazing. To be 7th, level on points with Liverpool with these players and on this budget is incredible. I think G.Nev said last night that Dyche had 35 million net spend to date with us. Liverpool spent that on Ox alone.

This season is even more incredible considering who we’ve played and where we’ve played them. Newcastle were above us yesterday but the teams they’ve played have been a heck of a lot easier.

I’m not really interested in the dinosaur talk to be honest. He said it once in an interview a year ago and it’s been repeatedly brought up on this site and in other places too. He was right in his belief because people will/do criticise his tactics. He was wrong in his belief because people will/do praise the job he’s doing. I think his point was simply that people were fawning over Conte but he was doing a similar thing and barely got a mention. It’s probably more to do with Big Club Bias and the success that Conte enjoyed rather than foreign/domestic coaches in my opinion.

Finally, if he does get offered the Everton job he’d go with our blessing. He’s been nothing short of incredible and I hope he doesn’t go. We’ve gone from relegation candidates to Premier League survival in 4 years. With barely any money. In truth, he could build a real dynasty here. The owners, players and fans back him. Everything is in place to really kick on and with a couple of shrewd investments we could probably look at Europe. You may laugh, but so many teams are so very poorly run at the moment. Ours isn’t. We don’t spend over our means, we don’t appoint and sack managers stupidly, we buy decent players and we sell for decent money. UEFA listed us as one of the most profitable clubs in the world a while back. We could be a lite version of Spurs. Bloody the noses of those above us on much less money based on sound infrastructure.
Nick P. Burnley FC. (In Dyche we trust)


Brucie bonus
I didn’t realise until reading Josh, AFC, Dubai’s email this morning that Conte had even had a lower league managerial career before Juve, never mind that it had been relatively average on paper. F365’s article on managers switching Premier League teams mid-season was also an interesting read, and lead me to check up on the full managerial career of Steve Bruce. Maybe it looks better on paper than it does/did for supporters of Birmingham, Wigan, Hull, etc., but I have to admit that, at least compared to pre-Juve Conte, maybe Brucey deserves a shot at a bigger job?
Tom, Manchester


Give Jose a break
A five-point gap, more “exciting” football from City and Pep and all of a sudden it’s back to the “Jose is really anti-football” agenda.

I’d just like to point out that Mourinho still has the bulk of the same squad three seasons ago. Meanwhile Pep moved on around 9 players last season and spend over £100m on full backs alone. The squad he inherited wasn’t exactly deadwood either. Aguero is far better than Lukaku, Ibrahimovic or Rooney (who was moved on this season) while Sterling’s quality was never in doubt even while his confidence was low (they spent £40-something million on him after all). Bernando Silva and Gundogan, who was once described as one of the best midfielders in the world, were added to a squad already containing Silva, KdB, Fernandinho and Yaya.

Plus, Pep has also completely refused to use a player from City’s impressive academy, except in League Cup competition.

My point is, Mourinho has largely worked with what has been made available to him. While Pep unceremoniously discarded the players who didn’t fit into his philosophy (Yaya Toure, Hart), he didn’t get criticised when he won nothing at the end of the season.

Only Smalling, Jones, De Gea, Carrick, Young and Valencia were a part of the 2013 title winning squad. Barring De Gea, none of those names inspire confidence in anyone. So comparison with SAF’s style is unfair, too.

We should all let Mourinho do what Mourinho does best until the end of the season.
Jerry, Manchester United fan


Non-league view
I’m not a non-league expert, I’m just someone who went to a game and enjoyed it. Just because it’s not fully professional doesn’t mean this isn’t fully thought through.

*A while back, we had an offer through work for tickets to Nottingham Forest v Leeds United, so I was able to take my son to his first ever football match. He liked the football, if not the result, but a 5.30pm kickoff made it a long day for him (after an early morning swimming lesson), and he couldn’t cope with the noise of 26,000 all shouting at the same time. An alternative to both of these things presented itself on a free Saturday in the form of Grantham Town v Halesowen Town in the FA Trophy first qualifying round, at the South Kesteven Stadium. They had a family ticket offer for two adults and up to two children could go in for £15, compared to £10 for an adult on their own.

*I’m not sure if it was because it was a cup (Trophy) game, so the long-term ramifications of victory or defeat were reduced, or if they play that way every week, but there were some interesting tactical moments. Grantham lined up in a 4-4-2 and looked to work the ball wide, where they had a 2 v 1 on each side, but their mix of passing styles allowed them to play through the middle as well. This contributed to their best move of the first half, when Tom Potts (at right-back) and Danny Meadows (right midfield) draw Halesowen’s wing-back out of position up the field tracking Meadows. This released Potts to move upfield, and he was perfectly placed to flick on a long pass.

Elsewhere, I was surprised by the positioning of Grantham’s goalkeeper, Kieran Preston. Quite often he was about ten yards out of his area, although he would retreat rather than playing as a sweeper keeper. His distribution, with hands or feet, was generally very good, as was his command of his area – he and his defence were well organised, so he had plenty of space to claim crosses.

*That overload out wide was made possible because the Yeltz were lined up in a 3-5-2. They mostly played long balls towards the two strikers, largely without success, because Gingerbreads’ captain Stefan Galinski was getting his head to everything – he was well in to double figures for winning headers early on in the first half, and only lost out once. The first time Halesowen ran at him, he committed a cynical foul and was perhaps lucky to only get a yellow card. The ensuing free kick was the visitors’ best chance of the half, and even then, it was a comfortable save for Preston, and Galinski went back to dominating the aerial game.

In something else I’m not sure I’ve seen before, Halesowen lined up for the second half with three men wide on the left. It was genuinely like an NFL side in a trips left formation. Sure enough, the kickoff was played back to midfield and the ball was pumped long, but it came to nothing.

*Despite facing a three-man defence and a three-man midfield, the Gingerbreads were able to find some space in the middle of the park. They upped the tempo at the start of the second half and played a more fluid style. Meadows came into the middle before working the ball out right. It was crossed low into the box and following a scramble, Jordan Hempenstall stabbed it home at the third time of asking, to score the only goal of the game. On a personal note this is the first time I’ve been to a game and seen the team I’m supporting not only score but actually win. I’m just relieved to not be a hex.

*Hempenstall’s strike partner, Lee Shaw, has an incredible 17 goals in 23 games so far this season (14 in 18 in the league). He had a quiet game, and at times seemed a bit frustrated, but stuck at his task of keeping the defence honest, and when he did sniff an opportunity, he looked lively.

*I’d definitely recommend that people seek out their local non-league side, if only for the opportunity to watch football without the general c##tishness that seems to go hand in hand with the highest levels of the professional game. There was minimal barracking of the officials (with the exception of a Halesowen coach, who was spoken to) or players trying to get each other sent off. The atmosphere among the crowd (all 226 of us) was fine, too, and the club officials were very patient with me. Apart from anything else, it’s important to remind ourselves football isn’t just something that happens on TV. There weren’t the bells and whistles of the higher levels, but then, you don’t go to the theatre for the choc ices, or the cinema for the popcorn.
Ed Quoththeraven (at least one person connected to Grantham Town’s Twitter account reads F365)


We were right after all
Are you really suggesting you got it wrong about Spurs squad depth after 10 games and two consecutive poor results?

Bizarre. I predict they will not be top four and will end up plotless yet again.

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