It Could Take A While…

By on December 18, 2010

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Barcelona’s mesmerising demolition of their old foes Real Madrid was a pleasure to watch, possibly the finest display of football some of us have ever been fortunate enough to witness. To beat your arch rivals, who boast the most expensively assembled squad in world football, with a team made up predominantly of home-grown talent, is as close to footballing perfection as you can come. The Barcelona model is what every football fan, club and team thrive for. Playing total football with a relatively inexpensive squad, and outplaying teams that epitomise everything wrong with the modern game. A small part of me even felt smug after watching it from a pub in a different country.

From a Liverpool perspective, it is the equivalent of an uber stylish 5-0 vicory over Manchester United with Gerrard, Fowler and McManaman getting on the scoresheet. It couldn’t get much better, that is of course, without Gary Neville being fatally wounded in injury time. Although Rafa took us close with that 4-1 drubbing a couple of seasons back, sadly I think that is the closest we will come for many a year. We may become successful under the NESV regime, and presently all signs are pointing towards a very exciting future. By all means, we could hand out any number of glorious hammerings against great rivals, but an English side made up of home grown players playing that brand of total football is, in my eyes, unachievable at the moment.

Having been brought up on elegant, one-touch pass and move football, it is something we as Liverpool pride ourselves on. Given the money fans pay to follow their team, this brand of football is rightfully desired. After all, football is essentially a form of entertainment (someone should mention this to Hodgson). Rodolfo Borrell’s appointment suggests we are, at least, heading in the right direction. And Liverpool may well continue to unearth gems such as Suso and Pacecho. But to outplay our ultimate dream of scousers dominating world football with such style is when we wake up.

Not that their isn’t an abundance of English talent spread across the country. Liverpool in particular has hitorically proved itself to be a hotbed of footballing talent. The likes of Rooney, Gerrard, Carragher etc, however, are the players that in my opinion would make it through the ranks without the necessary nurturing young football players need. For the academies, the emergence of such players reinvigorate hope that the youth system is still working, and to an extent, justify continuing with the same methods. Unfortunately for us though, this just ins’t the case; no-one of any significance has made the step up since a fresh faced Steven Gerrard 11 years ago. Although Borrel and his team may well improve the situation at Liverpool, a whole country’s mentality must be altered before anything resembling the current Barcelona team is to be replicated.

The physical nature of English football is apparently one of its finest attributes, which I have nothing wrong with, but I don’t necessarily agree with it. The physical nature of English football is what is keeping it behind, the only reason being physicality is used as a substitute for skill in this country. From the age of five or six, huge importance is placed on ‘getting stuck in’ etc. Despite the enjoyment I get from a bone crunching challenge as much as the next fan, the emphasis put on physicality in England is the exact reason a young Spanish lad will make the grade rather than a scouser, and also the reason England fail abysmally in every tournament they partake in. Passion and heart will only take you so far, technical ability and awareness will very rarely lose in the long run.

The teams England have beaten in the knock out stages of major competition since 1966 have been; Spain, on home turf, Paraguay, Denmark, Cameroon and Belgium. Not that this impacts directly upon Liverpool, but it does make an intersting point about the mentality of the English game, and importantly, what is lacking from it. A change must be made soon, and without the physical side being taken out of English football, a certain degree of skill must be integrated. The coaching standards may be where to begin; the amount of UEFA coaches qualified to the highest standard in Spain, Germany and Italy currently stands at 34,970, 29,240, and 23,995 respectively. The amount of UEFA coaches qualified to the highest standard in England, however, stands at 2,769.

It is about time the Gerrards and Fowlers where supported with technically gifted local lads, as opposed to the foreign imports the top clubs must look to after another year goes by without an academy graduate making the step up to the first team. Fortunately for us, it looks like Rodolfo may be able to put and end to the drought in the not too distance future. Humiliating Manchester United, however, might take a while…

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2 Comments

  1. mikael

    December 18, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    nicely written, support the idea that england needs more local talent. my recommendation, import experts from spain for technical assistance. if england can combine passion and heart with skill and technical finesse, the sky is the beginning.

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