Every two years, England's national team embark on yet another journey to compete with the world's best international teams. Whether it is in the European Championships or the FIFA World Cup, the English public is full of hope rather than expectation.
The Three Lions currently sit 6th in the FIFA world rankings, above the likes of Brazil, France, Portugal and Holland. I really don't know how. It's almost scandalous, and in no way reflects the capabilities of our national team. It's also an incredible injustice to the teams that sit below us. But why exactly does our national team struggle to succeed at international tournaments?
First, the amount of money invested by the FA into grassroots football is nowhere near enough, and young players that are nurtured into top international players are few and far between.
Thousands of young players play and train in facilities every week, which, in general, can only be described as atrocious. Pitches are generally of poor quality and many teams struggle to find a time and a place to train every week. This is in great contrast to other countries such as Holland, where they have high-quality facilities throughout the country and therefore a better national squad.
In my opinion, the scouting network to bring young players into academies isn't what it should be. If you think about some of the players in our national team, we have some good individuals, but they're not outstanding.
Germany, for example, has multiple world-class players in the squad. Philipp Lahm, Manuel Neur, Mats Hummels, Thomas Muller, Mario Gotze, Marco Reus - and that's just naming a few. Apart from Joe Hart, I can’t name a single player that would get into today's German side.
Even if there were quality English players lurking within academies, they don't really stand a chance. Premier League clubs are so obsessed with multi-million pound transactions for foreign players, that we simply forget about our homegrown talent.
Surely with an ever-increasing population of over 60 million people, England could field a better starting XI than the one currently representing the country? Fingers crossed for Brazil 2014.
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