Greg Dyke has a fistful of complaints against everyone but the FA as to why the English national team has failed at every level for a very long time – yet is engaging the same minds responsible for the current problems to solve it. The problems are not insurmountable, but a paradigm shift needs to occur at the FA in terms of their own responsibility to deliver elite players and ensure that they get the time on the pitch they need to develop to their full potential.
Being an insomniac, I’ve given this a lot of thought over the years and have always had a very basic solution in mind – remove the self-interest of the domestic club and you have the foundation for success. Below I’ve detailed what I think are the key issues and how it should be resolved. You might think I like my US sports based on what I’ve put together below…and you’d be right.
The key issues as to why the national team has continually failed:
· Not enough young English players forcing their way through to first team football at the top of the game.
· Not enough coaches of the calibre required to nurture young players to their full potential.
· A lack of desire or willingness of top-level teams to release their players on a consistent basis to the national team.
The following steps are those that I feel would be address the situation and put English football back where it belongs – at the top of the international tree:
· Increase scouting at FA – identify potential “elite” players as early as possible, retain them as FA-based players but make nearest PL team responsible for development – a certain % of academy must be allocated to FA players who live within a certain distance from training ground. If more than one team in locale, decision where to train must be made by player after tender offers by clubs. Club will then have first refusal of said player under the following point.
· FA owned central contracts. FA must follow crickets route of ensuring their best players are made available to the national side and the only guaranteed way of doing so is by following a cricket / US model of central contracts for English players, with teams then negotiating with FA to “loan” their players, paying a loan fee and all wages for the player. FA must have right of recall for those players not getting an agreed amount of game time to ensure English players are given priority. This would negate the key legal issue around having to field a minimum number of English players vs non-English, which contravenes European employment rules in terms of EU players – particularly bearing in mind that the appearance remuneration makes quotas impossible as a restriction of both trade and earnings.
· All FA-based players must take their coaching badges as part of their education. Need to ensure the next generation of coaches are coming through. Should also learn how to effectively referee the game at the top level.
· All England internationals should be contractually obliged to help with the coaching of young English players at their domestic club and pre youth football tournaments. Could be rotated, with players having to complete a minimum level of hours per season.
· The FA should be responsible for the fitness and assessment of fitness for all English players, not the domestic club.
· Through agreement with international FA’s, there should be a player / coach swap, where elite players and coaches are sent abroad to learn under different techniques / philosophies for a short amount of time.
· Premier League clubs should be contractually obliged to provide facilities and help in the development of the next generation of coaches and managers.
Hopefully you’ve found it interesting – would love hear what you think!