Roy Hodgson – Don’t Blame the Premier League

Watching Sky Sports news this morning got me rather cross with Roy. He says: “there are no English player for me to go and see……….we have few homegrown players……blah blah”. 

Blaming the Premier League, the ultimate monument to corporate madness is pointless. Youth players are cultivated out of a collective national psyche for football, something England does not have. It seems that the FA are a bunch of old school blazer boys who have very little regard for progression, at any level. 

Youth football is fractured, PE teaching is fractured, there is no culture for creating complete and happy footballers. I know this because I studied PE and sport at university and everyone on the course aspired to be a PE teacher. Half of the course couldn’t even play tennis, eat healthily or take a corner but the attitude was: “if you can’t do, we’ll teach you how to teach”. I have coached junior football, athletics and basketball and I have taken my 5 year old son to countless different clubs to induct him into football. Not one has impressed me when it comes to how the training sessions are run. They are either all running around like headless chickens with the classic “go, go, go” instruction being the main focus or they spend twenty minutes freezing cold learning all about using different parts of the boot to control the ball. 

The latter, we all know is important, developing good touch and close control is vital but that comes naturally, over time, it doesn’t need to be over-taught at the expense of the kids losing interest in the session. Good coaching combines practical sense, technical knowledge and pacing the drills so they are interesting. Personality plays a huge part, I’ve seen so many drippy young coaches who can barely talk to parents, let alone kids. 

The FA should present a national scheme for coaching development and it should be based on countries where their systems work; Germany, Belgium, France and Spain. It wouldn’t take long to have a complete turnaround in footballing culture if the right-minded people were at the top! 

Developing young players should be an easy task, there are many clubs who have brilliant academies nurturing incredible talent, just look at Wilfred Zaha coming through at Crystal Palace. If you left someone like him purely in the hands of an FA development scheme, he’d be miles behind. 

If I was in charge at the FA, I would have my people at all the clubs where youth development flourishes and adapt those systems for national progress. I would employ similar types of people to do the work and I would flush all the old crap out forever, only then will the national manager have a hope in cherry picking from a homegrown bunch.