Scott Parker’s selection as the captain of England National Football team hasn’t been well greeted, at least in the British Press. Stuart Pearce’s job as a manager might be temporary. England loosing at home against the Dutch further added bitter taste in mouth.
But, credit should be given to Parker for stating something serious which footballer lovers of this country tend to ignore it. For whatever reason, they do, even though knowing this stark reality.
Parker said “The way we've performed tonight, we don't think sheer grit, determination and courage is going to win you a tournament.
"We understand that we need to work on things and get technically better….”
This perception has been going on for ages. First, it started with a spirit. Then it became an identity aka Englishness. Crolley and Hand (2002) notes in their book ‘Football, Europe and Press’ that the ‘bull dog’ has been taken as symbol per excellence of the English, and it appears in a variety of manifestations, from politics, to cartoon to sports.
English football therefore rests on a bull dog spirit read as grit, determination and courage that epitomize the way the national team plays. Unfortunately, the introduction of foreign managers hasn’t changed that perception.
Spirit is appreciated, but not at the cost of basics of football. The Times, the most reputed paper in England are the torchbearers in this case. To them, Italian skill full players are “white booted fairies” and they possess weak “theatrical temperament”.
It only happens in this country. Skills, techniques are considered as cheating, foul means of earning the favour of referees, while when a rare English player presents a moment of genius, like Michael Owen in 1998 earning a penalty, the press ushered hypocritical praises. The Times wrote “the artfulness of a Latin”.
But how long this will go on? Are the people operating at the basic levels blind to see that how far football has developed in the modern era? Today, any top football teams possess players of high technical abilities. Even the mighty Germans have players like Ozil, Goetze, and Muller in their ranks who are technically gifted and look how far they’ve developed. Ok, you can tactically outsmart each other, that are fine, but at least, on individual level you should have players of minimum technical abilities.
Sneijder said yesterday about England "If you let go of the ball quickly and make a run, you get a lot of space.”
This is not about hurling insults. This is basic football. Pride, passion, determination are necessary, holding your head high illuminating an identity is bravo but ultimately you’ve to play the game. Mere passion is not enough, especially now, when football has changed by leaps and bounds.
"But we all need to stay positive and realise that tonight is a great hope for us.”- Parker concluded. Hope. Yes, that is all the team can do.
One group of people, who are very sentimental about their national identity feel that a nation should be coached by their own people only. They want their team to play with pride and passion. To them, learning this technical stuff is simply waste of time. To be very honest, you can’t teach technical aspects of a game to player at mid 30’s but younger players can adapt. At least they can improve.
I personally admire Steven Gerrard and believe he is a world class player ‘in his own right’ but the maverick lacks finer technical abilities. Against good technical opponents his weakness gets exposed. I am not criticizing a legend but this is fact. And he is such a wonderful player to watch when on song. Why I have chosen him and not others? Because, he is head and shoulder above the present midfield group England have.
However, there are two alternatives. Either you negate this technical/tactical blah blah European nonsense and get on with traditional bull-dog spirit or take a seat back and develop a system where young generation can adapt to the style and requirement of modern football.
Whether or not Scott Parker was the right man for the job is secondary – at least here we have a man who has the guts to hit the nail on its head. For that reason only, he should get a round of applause.
Follow Saikat Mandal on twitter @Saikat_SAnchor
This is like a Man City Fullback... Cliche.... I said "like"...
This notion that people within football want to build "Bull Dog Spirit" at the expense "Technical Ability" is a much over used cliche and one that needs to be stamped out.
"Technical Ability" i'd love for you to explain to me what you think that means and wonder if its same as what the FA actually mean by "Technical Ability"... because people seem to think it's just about having you body in the correct position to trap/shoot/pass the ball.
I am sorry this you this has come out on but I hear time and time again that English players are not a s "technically proficient" as their European counters parts with out seemingly understanding the meaning of this. Mick Dennis was once asked what he meant by that and couldn't answer the question.... I'm sure many other reporters would fall foul of the same thing... its a comment that everyone likes to say, but few understand the meaning.
I pose this to you that Messi would not be a "great player" if he did not have a football brain.... his "technique" on the ball is phenomenal but what about his clever use of the ball, his understanding of when to give the ball, when to run it, his awareness, his positioning.... all this can be taught to some extent but it is every much something a player has a natural instinct for... tell me why Bent scores so many goals... it certainly isn't because he is the best finisher in the EPL...
What our player need is a football education, and understanding of football, too much youth football in the past has been about drilling systems, improving aspects such as passing, shoot and tackling but very little encourage for players to express then selves like a Messi has been allowed to throughout his footballing career... lok at what happens when we do get these players.... McMananman, Scholes, Waddle, Hoddle... just to name a few, players that would have thrived in teams with intelligence and creativity, yet England marginalised their contribution and stuck them on the left wing. Why because they're weren't big enough or strong enough to play in the middle... and players with dynamism like Gerrard where always thrust in ahead because... well simply because... there is no reason.
My Spanish friend consider Scholes to be better than Xabi, Iniesta and Silve in his pomp, and I agree, the Paul Scholes could do everything, he has the "technique" and he has the "technical ability"... So my friend, stop with the popular notion we don't or can't produce top notch players...
Look at Wilshere, McEachran, Sturridge as an example of three... Wilshere has more "technical ability" than Gerrard and Lampard ever did, but will he gather the crash bang wallop Biritsh bulldog headlines they have? I doubt very much... is the age old problem, they are not the headline grabbers and thus are marginalised.
You have done all English coaches a disservice with the misconception that our young players are at a disadvantage... it simply isn't true... Spain have a generation of extremely gifted players... players that have ability and inteligence... something sadly Gerrard and the Rooneys of this world will never have and can't be taught.... read articles by Xabi talking about football... could you imagine Rooney producing anything like it? Look at the way Iniesta uses the ball in the advanced midfield role... he doesn't need the physicality and power of Gerrard to create twice as much damage? Again that is footballing intelligence.
Well said. See, Messi is a great player, having great abilities. His awareness that looks outstanding is partly down to the fact he is playing with this current bunch of players for nearly a decade. Somehow you develop a telepathy.
Don't go too far and too big. How about midfielders like Lazio's Hernanes? Napoli's Hamsik?
Hamsik is a diferent one, I don;t think he is as good a player as Gerrard, but the way he takes up positions and uses the ball probably means he can be more effective with his limited ability.... Look at a player like Stephen Ireland? The kid has everything but he's in the English League so is missing something... In spain he'd be a star... his technique and the way he uses the ball impress me every time i see him, however he doesn't run around a lot and isn't full of gusto... so get slated by fans, i think a lot of what we're on about is more demanded by the fans rather than coached in to them as kids... The crowd love a trier, they stand to crunching tackles, they love the physical battle between Defender and striker.... is this the same mentality as Italy and Spain? Perhaps the fans are at fault for the way we play...
I have no respect for the current English/FA set up. This is the same bunch of clowns who wrote off Scholes, a man who has commanded the highest respect from anybody who is anybody for over a decade. They write off Carrick, clearly one of the outstanding premiership midfielders of recent seasons. The same English set up that has persisted for years with donkeys like Crouch, Heskey and I expect Carroll will enjoy a long career.
The stodgy shit that passes for football from our national team wouldn't get you out of the bottom half of the premier league and it's embarrassing. Particularly when you look how many brilliant English players are lighting up the league.
You win more with genius than with stodge. And even if you lose with flair people are proud and happy to have watched you. The grey stodgy slurry that England serve up year on year won't win us cups or kudos.