Don’t blame the Premier League, blame a lack of talent

One curious faucet of human life is in times of hardship and failure, the blame for demise is often pinned on the wrong shoulders.

After another uninspired performance from England midweek, when they stumbled to a draw against a weak Ukraine team, football writers and those involved in the game have begun their normal approach of blaming the Premier League for the national team’s demise. Writers and pundits alike start to reel of excuses for England such as a lack of English talent playing at the top clubs, and bemoaning a lack of opportunities for English players to progress in their own country. The tired grumble about the foreign influence in the Premier League is brought out to patch over the national team’s inability to defeat inferior opposition.

One thing that all commentators and writers fail to grasp is why the Premier League clubs should care to sort something that is not their responsibility.

We can begin by the moans relating to the lack of English talent playing at top clubs. The brass at the FA seems to think this is due to lack of opportunities, or favouritism toward continental footballers. The simple fact of the matter is that the talent just isn’t there. It is not a case of glorious English footballers sitting twiddling their thumbs waiting for their rightful opportunity to shine. They aren’t playing, because there is a better footballer ahead of them.

Teams at both end of the Premier League look for the best talent, within the budget they are working with. Why should a Premier League club foster a sense of nationalistic sentiment and pick an English player over a better player from abroad.

Managers and the board have a responsibility to their respective football clubs to field the best side they can. They cannot be expected to play someone to help a national team at detriment to their own future successes.

To move past the foreign influence for a second, we need to look at whether there is a dearth of talent available to Roy Hodgson. One look at the last few England squads will make this answer pretty clear cut.

With all the respect in the world to Rickie Lambert, in more astute periods for the English national team, would he ever have been called up into a squad? Critics would argue that this is due to English strikers not getting a fair crack of the whip at bigger clubs; the reality suggests if they had a crack of the whip, they would miss the horse.

This is not to say England do not have good players. The so called golden generation has passed, and upstarts such as Jack Wilshire are coming through. The Arsenal player is seen as the next midfield incumbent for England, along with Cleverley of Manchester United. As good as these players may be, a point made by Pep Guardiola is telling, when he derided the English talent base claiming he had 4-5 midfielders languishing in the Barcelona reserves who were equally as good, if not better.

Going down the route of blaming players certainly isn’t new, however you only have to go back to the last two tournaments to understand that it is not about the players on the pitch, it is equally about attitude and football philosophy. Take Euro 2012 as an example. In their quarter final defeat to Italy, the English player that completed the most passes was goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Continental and world football has evolved at a quicker rate than ‘English’ football. Xabi Alonso expressed shock when first moving to Liverpool when a slide tackle was warmly applauded by the fans. In Spain, he said, if you have to make a last ditch tackle, it is due to an error by your team, and is something you should be ashamed of.

Footballers, especially in continental Europe, take to the game with a different philosophy. If you look at the two most successful team of football in the past 5 years, Barcelona and Spain, the differences to any English football is startling. Ball retention is key along with movement off the ball. In England, if you play like Barcelona, stroking the ball around for large periods, you get booed by fans who would rather see a long ball into the box than methodological and astute passing football.

England’s problems go much deeper than the foreign influence of the Premier League. Unless the football of the country embraces a different philosophy and hunger for the game, they will only continue to drop. English players are thrust into the first team at an early age, called up to the national team three weeks later, then are expected to be the answer to all problems. In Spain and Italy, you bide your time in the youth systems and reserves to gain experience, unlike in England, where the reserve league is seen as a scrapheap for players no longer needed at the club.

Blaming the Premier League and it’s so called foreign influence is deflecting from the main problem with English football. It has fallen behind other countries, and unless a new attitude toward the game is embraced, England will continue to fall from grace.One curious faucet of human life is in times of hardship and failure, the blame for demise is often pinned on the wrong shoulders.

After another uninspired performance from England midweek, when they stumbled to a draw against a weak Ukraine team, football writers and those involved in the game have begun their normal approach of blaming the Premier League for the national team’s demise. Writers and pundits alike start to reel of excuses for England such as a lack of English talent playing at the top clubs, and bemoaning a lack of opportunities for English players to progress in their own country. The tired grumble about the foreign influence in the Premier League is brought out to patch over the national team’s inability to defeat inferior opposition.

One thing that all commentators and writers fail to grasp is why the Premier League clubs should care to sort something that is not their responsibility.

We can begin by the moans relating to the lack of English talent playing at top clubs. The brass at the FA seems to think this is due to lack of opportunities, or favouritism toward continental footballers. The simple fact of the matter is that the talent just isn’t there. It is not a case of glorious English footballers sitting twiddling their thumbs waiting for their rightful opportunity to shine. They aren’t playing, because there is a better footballer ahead of them.

Teams at both end of the Premier League look for the best talent, within the budget they are working with. Why should a Premier League club foster a sense of nationalistic sentiment and pick an English player over a better player from abroad.

Managers and the board have a responsibility to their respective football clubs to field the best side they can. They cannot be expected to play someone to help a national team at detriment to their own future successes.

To move past the foreign influence for a second, we need to look at whether there is a dearth of talent available to Roy Hodgson. One look at the last few England squads will make this answer pretty clear cut.

With all the respect in the world to Rickie Lambert, in more astute periods for the English national team, would he ever have been called up into a squad? Critics would argue that this is due to English strikers not getting a fair crack of the whip at bigger clubs; the reality suggests if they had a crack of the whip, they would miss the horse.

This is not to say England do not have good players. The so called golden generation has passed, and upstarts such as Jack Wilshire are coming through. The Arsenal player is seen as the next midfield incumbent for England, along with Cleverley of Manchester United. As good as these players may be, a point made by Pep Guardiola is telling, when he derided the English talent base claiming he had 4-5 midfielders languishing in the Barcelona reserves who were equally as good, if not better.

Going down the route of blaming players certainly isn’t new, however you only have to go back to the last two tournaments to understand that it is not about the players on the pitch, it is equally about attitude and football philosophy. Take Euro 2012 as an example. In their quarter final defeat to Italy, the English player that completed the most passes was goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Continental and world football has evolved at a quicker rate than ‘English’ football. Xabi Alonso expressed shock when first moving to Liverpool when a slide tackle was warmly applauded by the fans. In Spain, he said, if you have to make a last ditch tackle, it is due to an error by your team, and is something you should be ashamed of.

Footballers, especially in continental Europe, take to the game with a different philosophy. If you look at the two most successful team of football in the past 5 years, Barcelona and Spain, the differences to any English football is startling. Ball retention is key along with movement off the ball. In England, if you play like Barcelona, stroking the ball around for large periods, you get booed by fans who would rather see a long ball into the box than methodological and astute passing football.

England’s problems go much deeper than the foreign influence of the Premier League. Unless the football of the country embraces a different philosophy and hunger for the game, they will only continue to drop. English players are thrust into the first team at an early age, called up to the national team three weeks later, then are expected to be the answer to all problems. In Spain and Italy, you bide your time in the youth systems and reserves to gain experience, unlike in England, where the reserve league is seen as a scrapheap for players no longer needed at the club.

Blaming the Premier League and it’s so called foreign influence is deflecting from the main problem with English football. It has fallen behind other countries, and unless a new attitude toward the game is embraced, England will continue to fall from grace.

VAVEL Logo