Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas has highlighted exactly what is wrong with English football. Fabregas’ interview with Telegraph should no doubt turn some heads in the FA as to what kind of an approach is needed in England. He explains how constant demand to win neglects what the primary purpose of football is.
“In Spain, we believe in one style of football. The way we play is the most important. It’s about how you do it. You will never play the ball longer or do some things you are not used to. We want to win playing football. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen but we want to be the best this way. We did it last summer and we want to keep doing it”
Footballistically, the culture and expectation around Europe is staggering compared what we witness in England. Bert van Marwijk, the Dutch manager that led them to the World Cup finals was constantly slaughtered in the Dutch media for his style of football throughout the World Cup as was Dunga, though as much as I despise them for reasons unknown, I must admit watching Brazil in the World Cup I thought was fantastic.
The approach we in England take to football has given us no recognition of any sort for years and although the country can boast having the best league in the world, the fact of the matter is that it is the foreign players that light up the league.
Teams can play with defensive long ball tactics against tougher opposition. That is understandable when so much is at stake in the game. Whereas a game watching Stoke play Blackburn can be interesting to see how many players leave unscathed, we can be assured that the rest of the world would be sitting there having a good old laugh at us.
“Here in England it is passion and the fans love it when there are hard tackles and you play long balls and counter-attack. If you do that in Spain they will boo you.”
“…because they are used to another kind of football. Here [in England] if you play good football, good football, good football and you don’t win then they can boo you for the opposite. You have to believe in your style and go for it”
Football is an entertainment business and that is the truth of the matter. In recent days however, we have seen the word “entertainment” removed from the phrase. And it is exactly the reason why England always fail at the major international stage. There is a lack of discipline among the players mixed with a complete disregard for what the game stands for.
Over the past 6 or 7 years, other than Wayne Rooney at Everton/Manchester United and Steven Gerrard, there hasn’t been any English players that would turn a head in World football like Iniesta, Ronaldo, Fabregas and Messi would.
“In Spain they make you study and have discipline,”
“You can be a good footballer, but if you don’t study, if you don’t behave, if you don’t have the discipline to get to training on time and eat well then they don’t care if you’re the best."
“Discipline and humility is very important. If you think you’re better than the others they’ll put you on the bench straight away. "
“They want the kids to be good but they want it to be that when they get into the first team, they behave the same way they did at 16."
"And that’s the most important thing because now it is very easy at 17 to become a first-team player, get some money and to go back down again because you think you have made it. But in Spain they would never let you do that. If that happened you would be out of the team straight away.”
It is hard to imagine how a player like Kevin Davies with some 120 goals and some 112 yellow cards can go home on a Saturday evening sit down and think, “I enjoyed my football today”. How do you enjoy playing football when all you’re doing through a game is watching out for when the long ball comes in and then bask in the glory of beating it past a defender by wrestling him to the ground?
“Sometimes my family couldn’t find me. You are out on the street. you came back at 12 o’clock at night and rested and then got up on Sunday morning and did it again. It was like this. One of the things you see in Spain a lot is that when you go, especially in small towns, on the street you play street football with your friends.”
"You cut your knees badly but you still stand up and play and it’s important to do that at this age. From there, players progress in a certain way."
“You fall on the floor, you stand up, you hit a wall, you sometimes break some windows. That is the beauty of football in Spain.”
There are no technically gifted players in the England team as there is of the robust energy powerhouse players which is useful to have, but causes an imbalance.
Rest assured, the new generation of players coming through to the English team have promising abilities. Jack Wilshere, Rodwell of Everton and Adam Johnson from Manchester City look the part in what is needed start undertaking a new philosophy in football
“I’m sure you have the players, but you have to find your own style. We were not born like it but we were taught to play like it.”