When you think of English football what do you get; the Premier League, supposed best League in the World, foreign owners, Sky TV etc.
But one thing English football is incredibly famous for; long-ball football.
Clubs like Stoke City and West Ham United are sides that like to pick large strikers; at Stoke there is Peter Crouch, Kenwyne Jones and Cameron Jerome; at the Hammers disposal Andy Carroll and Carlton Cole.
In all fairness to Crouch he has proven he is perhaps more able on the floor than in the air.
When Harry Redknapp took over at Queens Park Rangers this season, everybody instantly said, he will save them but now no one seems surprised to see them going down.
When watching QPR in a recent 0-0 draw against Tottenham Hotspur, the lack of creativity and imagination in the QPR starting XI was shocking. The only creativity that perhaps QPR possessed on the pitch Adel Taarabt was playing as an out and out striker, and had no impact whatsoever.
Redknapp has played with a three-man midfield of Shaun Derry, Park Ji Sung and Stephane M’Bia, a midfield of hard work players but with no imagination of flair between them.
Here is a club that are happy to leave players like Esteban Granero on the bench. For too long Redknapp has been lauded as a great English manager yet it comes as no surprise that he has been overlooked for a top job because he has clear deficiency in the tactical department; his mishandled treatment of a very good Giovani Dos Santos when Tottenham manager sums him up in a nutshell.
The typical English fan wants to see heart and desire in their players and in all honesty who doesn’t? But should that be at a cost where technical ability is taken out of the game?
Dimitar Berbatov was signed by Manchester United for a club record fee of £30million; he was joining the likes of Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez both technically good and hard working.
Both Rooney and Tevez are happy to track defenders all across the pitch and to make a big challenge, Berbatov on the other hand is the opposite of this mould of player.
So it was unsurprising when fans and pundits alike criticised Berbatov for lack of work ethic; deeming him a lazy player and asking why Tevez wasn’t starting more games.
What most seem to miss is that when Berbatov is on the ball, his touch, control and imagination are above that of his teammates. Not only is he a taker of opportunities he also makes plenty of opportunities for other players.
At grassroots level many children are taught to win as opposed to play attractive football. It’s completely wrong.
The issue here is that in English football, most fans/coaches would prefer to see an all action, hard-hitting, tackle making, physically robust player than, a technically astute player, where the ball sticks to his feet, whom has consummate control and can pull anything out of the extraordinary.
Too often has a technically great player been dropped because “he is too small”, or is unwilling to get “stuck in.”
Is it any surprise that English players rarely prosper in other European Leagues? Apart from David Beckham it is hard to find a player in the last ten years who has had a massive impact abroad.
Until a change is made, then English football, from grassroots to the national team is not going to improve and England will be further and further behind. A complete re-think is a must if England are to get back to where they believe they should be.
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