Will failed England turn to Arsenal’s golden generation? Of course not.

For England, that was the Golden Generation.  Actually the last two world cups and the euro thing in the middle were the tournaments of the Golden Generation.  England were about to win everything.

After it was all over in South Africa, Sir Trevor Brooking, the FA’s director of football, made a statement.  He comes across to me these days as a charming old buffer.  Not always 100% but generally at least looking roughly in the right direction (as opposed to investigating ways to cheating the Italian tax authorities like others I could mention).

Here’s one of Sir Trev’s forays….

“There is an immediate void in the standard of the team. World Cup 2014 will be difficult for England,” he said. “I don’t think there are the obvious quality coming through who can replicate what we have currently, unless we can fasttrack one or two of the younger ones – and that’s asking a lot.”

England at the world cup sent their oldest squad in history.  No one was impressed.

So the world cup is over and we prepare to play Hungary at Wembley.  Fortunately for me I shall be in Italy, trying to catch up on what the Milanese papers are saying about their situation.   Mr Cappuccino however is still earning £6m-a-year managing England.

Meanwhile we know why England is rubbish at football – and two simple changes could resolve the problem.

In saying this I reject that England’s problems go back to 1992 and the fact that the FA lost control of the top flight of English football.  That really is irrelevant – the issues are quite different.

First, we have only about 10% of the number of top qualified football coaches in England as they do in Spain, Italy, Germany and France.  Even Holland out do us.

Second, we refuse to let top clubs enter reserve teams into the lower leagues as they do in countries such as Spain and Germany.  I don’t say this is a panacea in its own right, but I do think it could help.

The reason for both failings come from the earliest days of footballing history in England.  The FA, responsible for England was founded as a gentleman’s amateur club, and such groups never have much interest in the clever-clever ideas of proper training. Indeed to them, training was almost cheating – they revered natural ability.   As the game spread they gave the coaching of young players over to school teachers, who may well have been well meaning awfully nice people, but generally their expertise was elsewhere.

As for the non-appearance of the reserves in lower leagues, if you keep up to date with Arsenal’s history on AISA’s Woolwich Arsenal site, you will know that after being banned from playing other London teams, and having turned professional, Arsenal tried to start a professional Southern League.  This failed, and Arsenal joined the Football League two years later.  But then the Southern League came into existence and Arsenal applied to put their reserves into that league.  The league management committee found the idea “insulting”, and it has been banned ever since.

So that’s why international football is such a mess and why it will stay that way.  Even the great god Rooney ended the world cup swearing at fans and refusing to speak to the media!

And the other excuses continue. Rooney wants a winter break.  Everyone wants a pop at Arsenal for playing foreigners.  But really we only need look within.  While Sir Trev worries about our youth team coming through Mr Cappuccino is so dedicated to his task that he refused to go and watch the European Under 19s championship this summer – where England managed to get to the semis.  He was busy playing golf.

It was also a shame the FA were not out in force to watch the France Spain final of that competition.   The game was great, the kids were great, and quite honestly France under 19s could have swamped England’s first team.

Actually the too many foreigners bit has now had its day, quite simply because England has shown just how much it hates Arsenal by picking only one of Arsenal’s real golden generation for the under 19s – Tom Cruise.   There were two Arsenal players in the final – Coquelin and Sunu, and as you might know, Sunu scored a brilliant goal.  Problem is those are the only two Arsenal players at that level who don’t play for England.

So now we enter a season where we have the “homegrown” list, but where England’s under 19s don’t want to know about Arsenal’s homegrown talent.

And what do the FA do meanwhile?  They manage to lose a chairman and a chief executive in the space of three months, following a stream of other defections.  Oh and they get worked up over the Cappuccino Index.

And they worry about Wembley.  £757m it cost, with the FA churning out £20m a year to keep the loan repayments going.  The TV deal is up for renewal in 2012 – anyone fancy buying it?

But of one thing we can be sure. Just as one defeat (or even a 6-5 win) is enough for the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal to say “this is a disaster” so one win (that is all it will take) one win, for England and the press will be talking of England winning the Euros, being “up for it” and “ready to take on anyone” and we will be looking at the new “golden generation”.

Billy Wright, Stanley Matthews and Alf Ramsey… we’ll be back among the greats, forgetting that those three all played in the team that was knocked about 3-6 by Hungary.

Hungary revolutionised football tactics in the 1950s, just as Johan Cruyff and the Netherlands did in the 1970s, and just as Wenger has done at Arsenal in the last 12 years.  But we don’t like revolutions in England, we don’t like radical ideas, we don’t like lots of professional coaches, we don’t like the Arsenal style…  We want to keep it the English way, even in defeat.

And this is the problem for England. They don’t have many young players they are willing to pick.  They won’t pick Arsenal players (despite all their obvious abilities) because they are now seen to be not purely in the England tradition.

Being traditionally English is what we are after, it seems, even though it doesn’t actually win us anything in a world that moved on 50 years ago.

How many defenders have we lost so far this close season?

Cesc signs for Barcelona

Being at Arsenal in 1955

One of the most depressing things about being an Arsenal fan

21 Replies to “Will failed England turn to Arsenal’s golden generation? Of course not.”

  1. The problem is the England coaches don’t know what to do with the Arsenal young elite….
    Maybe we should start a coaching academy.

    Can’t agree with you more on the feeder club idea, can we buy a French club instead?

    Keep up the good work, though I believe your average for the FUFA IQ was massaged up 43%

  2. A Cricketing tangent.

    The English Cricket Board have churned out a lot of coaches over the last decade. And they have lots of academy’s, most, perhaps all, hosted by the Counties. The Counties are essentially subsidised clubs, and are subservient to the ECB. This offsets the policy of sucesive goverments of not investing in sport, and selling off green spaces, playing fields, so that children are denied the option of playing sport, as they have nowhere to play. It’s a massive problem, but the ECB are coping, their team is doing very well, a healthy squad, with lots of young players waiting for their opportunities.

    From the ECB Coaching pathway website:

    “We have learned from the Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model that the very early stages of a child’s development have a profound impact on their performance in later years.

    It is essential therefore that coaches who choose to operate at this level are given access to the very highest possible qualifications to ensure that the fundamentals or ‘building blocks’ of performance are established at the appropriate time in a child’s development.”

    10% of the coaches of other ‘footballing’ nations.
    But there is a £1BN stadium, that didn’t even have the correct specification for the pitch included in the original budget.


  3. There was an interview in the Arsenal magazine a couple of years ago featuring three young Arsenal players who had returned from training with England youth squad. Lansbury was, I seem to remember, one of them. They commented that they found the experience strange in that the emphasis was much more on fitness rather than technique (which was the opposite to what they were used to) and that some of the players from other clubs ‘had never even trained with their club first teams.’ Integration with older, more experienced, players and learning from them seemed to be the natural way of things at Arsenal but not at other clubs and certainly not with England.
    Maybe the reason why Arsenal players don’t get picked is because they make the coaches feel inferior and the kids from other clubs jealous!

  4. ps It now emerges that Martin O’Neil left Villa because he couldn’t deal with being asked to be more financially prudent. Not enough like Arsene Wenger?

  5. Hi Gooner from Holland here..

    I have another way of looking at English people saying there are too many foreigners in the EPL. Let’s say still half of the EPL players are English. This means that those English lads can play against a selection of the best players from around the world week in week out. And that makes them better right?! If there were no foreigners, the Bentleys and Pennants of this world would be playing at ManU or Arsenal, not a good thing I guess!

    England have great defenders, okay some of them had a bad WC, but if we had defenders like you we would have won it with Holland I guess 🙂
    But the problem is creativity. England have so few creative players but you do not seem to care. Me and my mates cannot believe what we hear when the BBC pundits are saying that a midfield with Barry,Lampard and Gerrard is worldclass.. Those are three of the same right, all great passers of the ball, no movement of the ball..
    If I was Capello I would always play Walcott,SWP,Joe Cole and Lennon because you get movement and speed.

    So I think the English will thank Arsene in a couple of years because he is investing in the youthacademy, something the FA should have done instead of building a 90,000 seater stadium..
    BTW I was also surprised that there was only one Arsenal player in that u19 semi final. You could see that Spain are really ahead of the rest.. :S

  6. Back to cricket (sorry!):

    I went to the England Under 19s against the Sri Lankan young tourists yesterday at Arundel: England’s squad of 14 players had ten adult coaches or advisors in tow. 4 staring at PCs all day!

    I am all for coaches and coaching in all sports, but you can have too much of a good thing.

    Talent tends to rise to the surface!

  7. The English FA should create their own premiership club team and then they can play whatever english players they can buy if they want to improve their side.
    Think of the advantages, they already have a fan base and a stadium and this would allow english players to play together week in week out at the highest level.
    Of course they’d have to find the funds to buy a decent selection of english talent for them to compete with first 🙂
    Still assuming they could fill Wembley then they’d be pulling in decent income.

  8. What matters is that Arsenal and Wenger are successful in England and Europe. The footballing foundations have been planted are being developed. I am convinced that the club and the manager will reap the fruits of their labor, sooner rather than later. Arsene has already revolutionized top division football in England; the difference between 1980 and 2010 is simply night and day. The English FA is typically F*cking Away the time but it will catch up with them.

  9. I think the quickest and most effective change in English football that wouldmimprove the standard of the National Team is in the style and policy of the refereeing.

    The EPL refs get together to agree how they will interpret the laws of the game and what they will crack down on etc. this is an official EPL thing.

    They go for game management, trying not to give all the fouls that are committed, keeping the cards in their pockets, letting the game flow, allowing the physical side of the game to flourish.

    we know what this leads to Ramsey, Eduardo, Diaby and the ability of inferior sides like Stoke to compensate by getting physical (get in their faces, leave your foot in all that).

    See Webb in the WC final all those cards, no way would he give those in a Stoke v Gunners match!

    So let’s ref EPL games in the same style as we would a WC match or a Champs league one, force teams
    to play their best football, match their skill against their opponents, I think they would be surprised actually and actually come to enjoy their sport more and of course the emphasis would swing towards skills over physicality, technique over aggression.

    a simple change easily carried out and at no expense and it could start on Saturday coming!!

  10. Who are the under-19 Arsenal players who would’ve made it into the England U-19 side, Tony?

  11. Simon, I totally agree with you and have been arguing this point for some time now. I am not convinced the ’25 man’ rule thing is the answer. We need grass roots coaching, something along the lines that Finsbury mentioned would be a real revolution for English football.

    We desparately need better refereeing in the Premier League, it would increase the quality of skillful tackles and discourage lazy poor challenges. I believe in letting the game flow and that’s why I can’t stand Italian football, but sometimes in games referees seem to condone violent play by not calming situations down or stamping authority in games. Not all teams can play composed attacking football, but cynical challeges when a team is being outclassed and outplayed can be addressed.

    There needs to be greater redress for poor referees that by their actions of lack of, cause player injuries.

  12. England will be forced to turn to Arsenal in a couple of years, but Cappello & his assistant Pearce will not get the best out of them as they are no longer right to lead England. I don’t think tactically Cappello would be prepared to change systems and players depending on opposition.

    I noticed today that Rooney really needs the ball played over the top, in front to his feet in order to be any kind of threat. He needs space that isn’t always afforded to him and if he is crowded by defenders, he gets frustrated and looses concentration. This doesn’t fit with the intelligence of the Arsenal passing game and off the ball movement so a midfield full of Arsenal players would be Rooney’s worst nightmare.

    Theo and Kieran both put in really good performances. Not that match commentator Andy Townsend noticed that Gibbs had a confident and composed debut England match, as he focussed on Theo as usual, making irrelevant nonsensical comments, even while supposedly praising him.

    Another player that the ITV pundits didn’t bother about that was Joe Hart, he had a good game and is a top goal keeper and in my opinion, better that Given. I wouldn’t be suprised if Mancini goes with Joe this coming season. Its a shame Capello didn’t give him a game in South Africa, he should be England No.1.

    The more I see Glenn Johnson play, the less talented I think he is. Gerrard had a good game for England, so he might be tired for this Sunday.

  13. W-E-G: WILSHERE? Lansbury? Bartley? Watt? Eastmond? These are players that are proving themselves to be hits at clubs they are going on loan, and are all 19 or under – and yet they cannot make the England u19 team?

  14. England played some good football in the qualifications and most people seemed hopefull for the world cup. It wasn’t until after the WC that England was branded as rubbish. It’s easy beeing hindsighted. England is doing well at u17 and u19, so I don’t really see the problem. England had a bad tournament, so did Italy and France. I can happen to the best. The next generation of players looks good, with some Arsenal kids in there England get some more flair and creativity. England has won as many world cups as Spain.

  15. Richard B,
    It was Lansbury who complained that he did not enjoyed playing for the U19 because the coaching staf preferred style was hoof the ball.
    The magazine also edited his original comment who was shown on Arsenal TV: he felt like a plane spotter except it was the ball spotter high in the sky. The journalist jokily asked him if he was afraid to hurt his neck. Funny how that interview was not re-broadcast.
    The funny thing was that he also had to justify to the other players that he at Arsenal was going to be given a chance. A couple of years ago, everybody assume that Arsene had a bias against English players when in fact he has a bias just against arrogant, ‘know it all’ beer lager lout. Boothroyd, Pennant, Bentley I am talking about you.

  16. Anybody who watched the U19 European Championship knows that the England Youth team coaching staff does not have a clue. I will even include Stuart Pearce in the list.
    At last the U19 and U17 squads just annouced includes some Arsenal players, however they just left behind the best prospect in his age group: Chuck Aneke.
    How Eastmond can be a Arsenal first team player and never be called at U19, U21 level is beyond me. It is not like England has a vast number of tactically aware, level headed, anchor midfield player.
    At Senior level (Owen Hargreaves is never going to recover) the only one are Gareth Barry (Michael Carrick has proved at both Englan and Manchester United that he is not up to that task) and Scott Parker (still untested at high level).
    I know that some people are touting Lee Cattermole as the next bid defensive midfield player, but I am afraid at International level IMHO Lee Cattermole is just an explusion waiting to happen.

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