The *Other* Reason Why England Are Out of the World Cup

So far in the 2014 World Cup, all England footballers combined have scored, in two games, the same number of goals as Luis Suárez has scored in his one game against England. Two.

All of which, inevitably, has led to the same-old howls of derision and complaint. And I’d like to add just a little of my own… Only, I hope, with one all-important twist. See, from where I’m sitting – on a New Jersey Transit train making its way slowly into New York – I reckon the same-old howls of derision and complaint might just be a whole lot of xenophobic nonsense.

Luis Suarez versus England

Here, we’re always led to believe, is “the problem.” One: there are not enough opportunities for young English footballers to play for the best English teams. Two: the reason for this is a surfeit of highly skilled foreign players playing instead off them. Three: therefore, even though the English Premier League has an extraordinarily high concentration of world-class footballers it doesn’t result in a world-class England team.

Seems about right so far, doesn’t it? More-or-less, at least. BUT, of all the conclusions that we could draw from such a state of affairs, why do we hardly ever draw this one:

  • It’s easier to become a world-class footballer by playing overseas.

Or, indeed, this even simpler one:

  • It’s difficult to become a world-class footballer without playing football.

Ok, many people do reach that second conclusion, I admit… But surely they get the answer all wrong. Don’t force Manchester City to find room in their team to play Jack Rodwell every week – encourage Jack Rodwell to become a better player overseas.

Really, is that such an awful thing to contemplate? A year or three in Ligue 1, the Eredivisie, the Bundesliga… If you’re a young English player keeping the bench warm at a top English club, how about getting off your lazy arse and seeing what some other country has to offer? Be the man keeping someone else out the team! Become a fan favorite. Just, you know, GET BETTER.

Bundesliga logo

Like, for instance, Luis Suárez did. He left Uruguay as a teenager to play a few thousand miles away in the Netherlands, where he scored 126 goals in 196 games. Before, of course, traveling yet again to join our beloved Premier League – and scoring, last year, 10 goals more than anyone else.

Maybe, after all, foreign ‘mercenaries’ like Suárez, Yaya Touré (played for teams in Belgium, Ukraine, Greece, France, and Spain), Eden Hazard (five years in France), Mesut Özil (three years in Spain), and Sergio Agüero (five years in Spain), and so on and so on, are not killing the English game while simultaneously grabbing greedy fistfuls of cash. Maybe, instead, they’re the lesson we really should be learning. Hey ho.

Suarez and Gerrard

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About newjonnytransit

Same as ever, only better.
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5 Responses to The *Other* Reason Why England Are Out of the World Cup

  1. etfaust says:

    The Tom Ince story is worrying for English soccer. Why anyone would choose a lower-tier premier league over the chance to star at Inter I don’t know. It wasn’t like Ince dominated at Palace last year. So why not get a fresh start in Italy? I completely agree with you on this one.

  2. happypickle says:

    In Germany, the Bundesliga massively supports the development of youth, with some particularly important points (in bold)

    **source http://www.theguardian.com/football/2010/jul/04/germany-youth-development-england **

    Christian Seifert, the Bundesliga’s chief executive, told Observer Sport how that failure, which followed a 3-0 quarter-final defeat by Croatia in the 1998 World Cup, forced a major rethink about the development of young players.

    The new structure, implemented in 2002, has resulted in a resurgent German side – their youngest team ever, with an average age of 24.7 years. Last Sunday in South Africa they beat England 4-1, and Argentina 4-0 yesterday. They will go into Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine among the favourites.

    Seifert said that the national team’s stark improvement was a direct result of the overhaul of Germany’s academy system, with all 36 clubs in the two Bundesliga divisions now obliged to operate centrally regulated academies before being given a licence to play in the league. Of the 23-man national squad now in South Africa, 19 came from Bundesliga academies, with the other four from Bundesliga 2 academies.

    The most significant change, said Seifert, was insisting that in these new academies at least 12 players in each intake have to be eligible to play for Germany.

    “That was the key difference,” he said. “Fifa’s 6+5 rule means only that players must have grown up in the club. For example, Cesc Fabregas was developed at Arsenal, but is Spanish. In Germany, our academies must have 12 in each group able to play for Germany.”

    Since that restructuring, the proportion of Germany-qualified players in the Bundesliga has changed significantly.

    “In 2003-4 we had 44% from foreign countries,” Seifert said. “Right now it is only 38%. So 62% are able to play for the national team.” In England it is the other way around, with an approximate 60/40 split of foreigners and nationals.

    • All interesting stuff… But Germany hasn’t actually won anything for almost 20 years (since Euro 96). Plus German league completely dominated by Bayern Munich – where’s the fun in that? Also, also, none of this has any bearing on whether or not English players would benefit from playing abroad – the thing I was actually arguing for!

  3. happypickle says:

    The point I was trying to make above; before this stupid site took out the HTML part – was that there was certain aspects I put in bold using HTML

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