Premier League responsible for England’s woes
When I was last coaching the English team, I had just defended winning the European championship. The team had won the World Cup twice, and the European Championship twice, been ranked number one in the world for the last six years and had been undefeated in all competitive games.
Of course, it is a lot easier to win when playing the excellent Football Manager game, when the players are playing to their potential and there are no egos or WAGs involved.
In real life, there are a other factors. Things like the captain being stripped of his title because of racial abuse and the most talented player of the team banned from playing until the last group game. For a country with one of the top four leagues in the world, England perform like a third-world country. I firmly believe this is because of the standard of coaching and playing talent in England, and the reason for this is the Premier League.
Here are the facts: In the EPL, only three coaches out of the 20 are English (not counting Harry Redknapp who was sacked at the end of last season). Compare this with the other three big leagues in Europe: 14 out of 20 Spanish coaches in the La Liga, 19 out of 20 Italian coaches in Serie A, and 13 out of 18 German coaches in the Bundesliga.
No English coach has won the Premier League since it started in 1992, or even the UEFA Champions League since 1992. The managers who have won the Champions League have included three Dutch, four Italians, two German, three Spanish, one Portuguese. No English coach has even won the UEFA/Europa Cup since 1992. In fact, you have to go back to the early 80s to see an English manager winning either one.
When talking about dominant players in Europe, there is no one in the current English squad or in the immediate future who can be considered as one. No controlling midfielder who can control the tempo of the team or the game. Of the top six Premier League teams that qualify for the European club competitions, there is no standout English player who the team can be built around.
The underlying problem is the Premier League. With the amount of interest generated by the League and the money involved, it makes more business sense to try and pay for success rather than cultivate it in your own backyard. Forget the top 6-8 teams that are consistently in the mix of European action.
The other 12-14 teams are happy to try and replicate the process without actually replicating the success. Unless there is massive injection of funds to a club a la Manchester City or Chelsea, there is no way of improving from mediocrity.
And unless the English FA or the Premier League start focussing on not just English players in the league but also managers who can compete with the best in Europe, there is no way of seeing England getting past the first knock-out round in major championships (outside of the Football Manager game, of course).
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