By Tony Attwood
In terms of reporting on football, by and large I doubt that anyone has much expectation that we will ever be better informed about what is actually going on than we are now. Jounalists, bloggers and newspaper editors choose what is and what is not news, and report it in their own way, and as a result at the end of most articles we tend to know less than we did before anything was written.
The best way for Arsenal to win the Premier League is … well, there isn’t one other than having lots of money. Arsene Wenger was a chump who won the Premier League without losing a game, something which no other team has ever done, and so it can’t be possible. So we didn’t win the Premier League. Liverpool! must have won it because they always win it, except that they have never won it. And Man City because… well, they have the money.
As a result my little piece of research showing a link between the number of coaches with the top badges per 10,000 players in the country. The simple result was that the percentage of coaches to players is not perfect but holds true in many cases – enough cases to show that this is a way for a country to move forward. Increase the number of qualified coaches dramatically and international success is likely to follow.
Of course it is not a perfect link – it doesn’t always work (the Netherlands slip from grace showed that) and it is possible for countries with fewer coaches still to have some success, rising up the rankings etc.
Here are the current rankings…
What we can see is that population doesn’t have anything to do with success in international football, as if it did, Russian and Mexico, both of which are football mad countries with massive populations would be sitting in the top ten, at the expense of Croatia.
If you want to place a wager or two on any type of football you will need to find the best betting sites And it is also handy to understand what is going on as countries and teams move up and down the lists.
And so let us consider this fact that England has risen up the rankings. We may note it has not done it by increasing the number of coaches with the top qualification. It is hard to get exact figures for the past 18 months but it looks to me as if numbers are actually going down.
And it is hard to see at first light how this improvement is being powered. As the Guardian pointed out, “One of the headline statistics relating to Tuesday under-21 friendly at Bournemouth is that the 24 players named in the original Germany squad have started 668 Bundesliga games, which is more than twice as many as their 26 English counterparts have racked up in the Premier League.”
Of course one of the reasons for hope and excitement is the development of the England under 23 team. If we take Reiss Nelson as an example he has developed particularly well by going to Germany to play – as have some other English players, because a loan player in Germany gets games while a loan player going into the lower divisions in England quite often will not get games. Quite why that is, is hard to say. It is of course not an absolute rule, but it is a general point.
Yet most of the games played by England under 23 players is played in the Championship via loans. In Germany loans are more rare and loans down a league particularly rare.
In other words German teams are based on players nurtured in the top division of Germany by their own clubs with the players getting games in the first team. It does happen in England with the very best players, but not all.
So although some people are suggesting that England has found a way to get around the link between the number of coaches and the England position in the world rankings, and that Germany has slipped down because of this method, it may not be something that is bound to last.
I think the point here is that England are going through a rich vein with young talent, but it is possible to argue that this too is coming at a cost. More and more players are being pulled into youth squads of professional teams, while many of those still playing for their school or local sports clubs are getting worse and worse conditions to play on, while being fed the constant line of winning at all costs. That might be the attitude of professional players – but it does nothing for the youngster who is not going on to be a professional footballer, because it helps develop a lop-sided view of life. Win at all costs might help one in a football team to win the match, but it is not the way to run a society – as I think some of us have discovered in the UK.
The development of the youth system by the clubs, who are effectively by passing the FA and who are developing the win at all costs mentality shows us that the FA, which is supposed to promote football for everyone, has lost all influence and control over the lower levels of football just as it has at the higher levels.
The FA is nothing if not thick-skinned, and is rejoicing in its current run of success with the England team, although as yet nothing has been won. Their view is that they should be left to run things as they want them to be run – which means winning any trophies at any level that they can get, no matter what the cost to the overall development of the youngsters who are competing.
Yes England might go higher up the international rankings, powered by a raft of young talent, but as for the long term development of football in England, I fear we are simply seeing another nail in the coffin, as the FA and others will now believe you really can win in international football without bothering to train up lots of coaches.
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