It’s International game weekend in Football and across many of the social networking sites I have noticed that people are not really that interested in watching England play this weekend. There are a huge amount of people wishing this weekend to be over so league football starts again, in fact I don’t think I have seen one positive comment, tweet or status regarding the Qualifiers. I used to enjoy these games but even I think it’s just not the same anymore.
As a child and throughout my teenage years my walls were always filled with posters of various England football teams from each major tournament. I absolutely loved watching England play in the Euro’s and the World Cup and I got so excited when the games were on, I’d always watch it with family and friends throughout the years and we’d banter and have a laugh or share the pain when it all went wrong. But even I have noticed that I’m not really as excited as I used to be. I didn’t know whether it was just because I’d grown to love the Premier League so much or just because I had lost a little faith. I will watch the game because I love football and I obviously do want us to qualify for the World cup but I am hoping that it’s not a boring game, I want to see excitement.
I asked a few of my football friends the question- Just out of curiousity, when did you all stop enjoying International football? and these are some of the comments I received in reply.
“When it dawned on us that whoever gets the england job chooses the same overhyped piles of shite instead of in form players thus causing us to predictably bounce out of every tournament without as much as a whimper” (DVL)
“personally, a long long time ago. I only started being interested again when Rooney came through at Everton, but watching England is such a chore, its like the film groundhog day” (TR)
“I think I realised after the 2002 World Cup. I can’t honestly ever seeing England winning anything in the near future can you? its frustrating really given the amount of talent over and with English clubs doing so well in the Champions League year in year out. I guess that’s cos of the overseas players coming in to the Premier League too” (JD)
“we must be the only nation that doesn’t use the under 21s to our advantage in a progressive way, hardly any make a successful transfers consistently from one to the other, and even if new players are blooded for friendlies, as soon as the next competitive international comes around, more often than not, it’s the same old faces that return and the new guys are dumped without a second glance” (SAM)
There seems to be a huge shift in attitude towards the National team and we don’t as fans seem to have the passion we used to. I believe there are many reasons for this and I think these are a few of the changes in the past few years that have affected the National team.
Replacing Terry Venables with Sven was a big change for the national team to have a manager who wasn’t English. It was the first time the fans really questioned whether the FA had done the right thing. Don’t get me wrong, this world has some amazing managers from all nationalities but when it comes to the National team job, isn’t it better to have someone of the same nationality? I always wondered how committed to the job they could possibly be when it is natural to love your own country. I think Sven did and pretty good job but we were never really comfortable with him as manager. He was much better than Capello though.
In the last ten years there has been an influx of foreign players in the Premier League and I think this has affected the general standard of football. Whilst it has improved our leagues and made them much more competitive and exciting it has affected the young English players coming through the Youth academy’s. They don’t always get the chance to shine and play to the best of their ability because there is always an expensive foreign player to out play for a place. This is hopefully set to improve with the opening of the Football centre this week and with campaigns like NextGen and the Under-21’s league. Our youth need to be developed a lot more if we are ever to win a major tournament in the future.
The actual play of football has changed massively over the years. There are so many great changes skill, performance, stamina, tactics, positioning and finishing have all improved for the better. A lot of managers are employing different techniques and styles of play that have come from watching football around the world. It’s a great thing but when a player gets used to playing in a certain way for his club, to then come and play in a different formation with different tactics for England, they find it harder to play out of routine. Maybe England have to change the way they have been trying to play and focus on what strengths they have within the team.
There was a time not so long ago that footballer’s personal life never entered into their football careers. The most we ever heard was if a player was on drugs. Somewhere a long the line, probably with the big pay rises footballer’s personal lives became the ultimate goal for a journalist to try to get a scoop. I think this is another thing that has changed and has affected the England team in a round-about way. All the drama and hype around this takes the attention off football and that should not be happening.
A friend quoted this “Football news used to be on the back of the newspaper now it is on the front” and it’s one of the truest things I have heard in ages. We all know how the media like to release big news stories on England players just before the tournaments. We had Sven and the Ulrika ka ka ka story, Wayne Rooney and the prostitutes story a couple of times, various Ashley Cole stories, and the most recent John Terry, amongst others in the past too. It really does affect the way we view the team, everyone gets divided on opinion and morals come into question. The team gets affected when the FA step in and interfere with the managers job and allow personal affairs to affect football. It shows a lack of respect, the very thing they promote. We shouldn’t be hearing about off the pitch news, if a footballer is playing well then let it go.
When I look at the last tournament where I honestly thought we had the best team and the team that were most likely to win anything it takes me back to the Euro 96 team as it does many other people. The team we had then were amazing, full of life and passion and they played International football because they loved it, they were all there because they saw it as an honour. You do not see that same hunger and need to win with today’s England players. When they are wearing their club shirts they put in every effort they can because they are being paid lots for it but when they put on an England shirt there is a difference. Rooney is prime example, he is a fantastic player when he wears a Man U shirt but put him in an England shirt and he looks average.
Our England boys need to start playing like they mean it. Stop playing boring football and inject some fear into the opponents. I don’t hold much hope for the World Cup 2014 but I think we stand a very good chance of winning the Euro’s in 2016 IF we can nurture the youth in this country. Young players like, Holt, Ruddy, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere, Walker, Sterling, Sturridge all have the ability and the drive to be future stars and I do truly believe these youngsters have it in them, so much more than the team we have now. So let them start playing now, get rid of the oldies and let’s get our lion’s roaring once more 🙂