It’s been 52 years since England won the World Cup in 1966, and, since then, the long wait to secure another major cup has been painful to say the least.
Penalty shootout after penalty shootout, world-class talent after world-class talent, manager after manager, from jubilation to commiseration – the fans have had to endure it all.
It’s not even like there hasn’t been opportunities. At the turn of the century, the nation was blessed with one of the greatest squads ever (on paper, at least); the likes of Terry, Carragher, King, A Cole, Neville, Beckham, Gerrard, Scholes, Lampard, J Cole, Rooney and Owen all donned the three lions. Some form of success should have been guaranteed.
Yet, under the stewardship of a Swede who hardly warrants mention, they faltered. And again under brolly wielding McClaren. And again under flop Fabio. And then under Roy Hodgson.
Now it’s Gareth Southgate’s turn, and, to be fair, he’s done a far better job than most of his predecessors. Just this year the nation were led on their most exciting World Cup run in some time, and it seems, following this, faith has once again been restored in the England setup.
One thing that strikes us as a particularly positive aspect of Southgate’s management style is his willingness to give young talents an opportunity in the first-team.
Most recently we have seen the likes of Jadon Sancho, who’s made a very successful transition into German football, turn out for Southgate’s squad in the UEFA Nations League. And it’s great news for England fans.
More encouragement should be given to young players to step outside of their comfort zone and seek opportunities abroad. Indeed, some of the best players to ever grace the game have needed to come from far and wide to play their football so why shouldn’t we?
Here are two very good reasons why English prospects moving abroad spells success for the national team…
This is something Lampard, Gerrard and Ferdinand all touched upon in their interview discussing why the ‘golden generation failed’.
Each player theorised that, because they were competing with each other week in and week out, it was difficult to develop as a group.
In addition, they discussed the ‘tribal’ nature of the dressing room, suggesting that successful integration was always a problem because players would typically gravitate towards their club mates. This, of course, is a major issue as teamwork is such a fundamental element in football.
If English footballers played abroad, there would be a far slimmer chance of this happening.
A continental style of football is, more often than not, purer and more effective in the modern game than the traditional English approach.
You need only look at the tiki-taka football of managers like Pep Guardiola, who earned his stripes in Spain and Germany before heading over to dominate the Premier League, to understand how time in Europe could help young players learn a lot.
It’s an educational experience for young players to be emerged in that kind of environment, and for England to have a group of prospects, each educated in the art of total football, as opposed to only a couple – who typically play in the same team – it can only be a good thing.
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