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The Reasons England Never Succeed

Updated on May 16, 2013
A disappointed Steven Gerrard
A disappointed Steven Gerrard

Why do England always fail to impress and NEVER live up to expectations in the big tournaments? Well I'm about to shed some light on some of the reasons that hinder England compared to other countries, who seem to have a greater success rate at reaching and even winning the later stages of tournaments.

Big Team Mentality

For some reason, maybe because the Barclays Premier League is one of the best leagues in the world, and 47 years ago they won the FIFA World Cup, the fans expect England to be in the latter part of tournaments, and even to challenge for them. However, because this transcends to the players, they have the wrong mentality arriving into tournaments, and always underestimate their opponents, so even teams that should be beatable, make England come unstuck. If England, and their fans, looked more realistically at tournaments, and done the clichéd "Take it one game at a time", there may be a better chance for England to either make it further and enjoy some kind of success, or be less disappointed when they lose and are eliminated from tournaments.

Mario Gomez celebrating
Mario Gomez celebrating
Spain with FIFA World Cup aloft. Nearly the entirety of the squad was part of a 'B/C' team
Spain with FIFA World Cup aloft. Nearly the entirety of the squad was part of a 'B/C' team

No stable youth development system

If you take a look at some nations who often out-perform England, and see how they develop national youth talent, it may be a cause of concern that the FA should look at. I know the English youth system has been reformed, to a certain extent, however it is not at all as challenging and as experienced driven as other nations. The first nations we are going to take a look at are Spain and Germany. These, at present, are possibly the two strongest nations in European football, and maybe in the World. One major factor that they have such a wealth of young national talent, is that they have 'B' and even 'C' teams, that compete at a lower level equivalent to the English npower Championship and below. These teams cannot play against their 'parent club' and are not allowed in the same league as them, eradicating any form of collusion or cheating. This allows talent from each clubs youth academies play alongside and against full-time professionals, thus gaining fantastic real-life professional experience. It is a kin to an apprenticeship or a doctor/nurse being taught as they study. However the English system is as good as doing GCSE's then attempting to perform heart surgery, immense pressure with big expectations but no tools except raw talent and limited knowledge to go by. It is designed for failure. These systems, which has also being adopted by AFC Ajax, one of the greatest youth production teams, allow young players to gain experience from around the age of 16, playing in a professional league. Whereas, English youngsters are deprived of around 5 more years usually, stunting development, as many players do not get a proper run in the first team until around 20 or 21 years old in England. I would liken it to teaching a baby to speak from birth, or waiting until they are 5 and started school, you would not do this with a child, so why would a young footballer be allowed to be stunted this way? Only the English FA know. However they are not the only culprits, but this shows when tournaments come around.

Notable current players who have played in this type of 'B/C' team system are Lionel Messi, currently the world's greatest player, Xavi, Andrés Iniesta, Mario Gomez, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Rafael van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder, Iker Casillas, Juan Mata. This is only a handful, and reading this you will be thinking of many, "World Class, World Class, World Class...". This shows the impact of this type of youth development program, and perhaps why England will probably never, at least in the recent future, live up to the great expectations of their fans.

Another successful nation that often overshadows England, is the great students of the beautiful game, Brazil. They do not have a youth development system like Germany or Spain's, however what they do have is a wealth of competitive games. They have the national top division as the rest of us do, but they also play in regional leagues, which are competed at the same level. This is the reason that a lot of Brazilian youngsters rise quickly to prominence, such as the likes of Neymar, Oscar, Ganso, and in the past Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo. The Brazilian national team also play a great deal more than most other nations, making the squad more familiar with each other and their playing styles, and because many players a situated away from South America, more nationally based youngsters are given chances to perform in the national team and impress, pretty much, the whole nation.

Club Power

It may not seem like a problem, but the power of Club v Country really affects the fortunes of the England international team. In the 'easy' games such as San Marino, Azerbaijan etc., players only play half a game or 30 minutes, on a club manager's request. Of course, this is protect the Barclays Premier League club's investment, and because the Premier League has no real affiliation with the English FA, they do not mind that this happens, because they do not want their 'product' to suffer. Why is not playing against lesser teams a problem?, you might ask, well let me tell you. As stated earlier, on how Brazilian players become accustomed to each other when playing regularly, when England players are shuffled about willy-nilly because they are playing a 'nothing' match, this hinders development of the team as a whole. These type of matches should be taken seriously to develop tactical cohesion and a knowledge of each others play. This is not such a problem for aforementioned nations such as Spain and Germany, as many players play for the same club, therefore the familiarities are already formed. Another problem is club managers not allowing players to play internationally or players deciding to pull out of international duty because of an upcoming 'Big Game' in the league or UEFA Champions League. Again, this disrupts the tactical cohesion and knowledge of play of team-mates.

Too Settled at Home

Another possible reason for the lack of quality in the England squad, may be that only two notable English players ply their trade in other nations, Joey Barton(Marseille) and Scott Carson(Bursaspor). Traditionally, English players have never really travelled abroad to play football, but in these modern days it should be common practice. More players playing widespread would help gain a collective knowledge of different playing styles that may become useful to English football domestically and internationally in the future. England is the country with the least nationals playing outside of their nation. This may be again, because the Barclays Premier League is rated as one of the best in the world therefore English players strive to play in it and do not really consider any other avenues, but it is obviously a hindrance, since the percentage of English players in the top division decreases season upon season. This forces English players to in main, play in the lower leagues, thus forcing them out of International consideration.

Therefore, in order for England to stand any chance in future international tournaments, a whole lot needs to be changed, and will probably take 15-20 years to even kick in to action and maybe many more to see the fruits of the labour. Otherwise, many more will be writing articles such as this, wondering why oh why, do England always fail?


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    • adambarker97 profile imageAUTHOR

      Adam Barker and Dean Barker 

      5 years ago

      Thanks very much for the comment!!

      Yeah I always dream too, but sadly all signs only ever point towards dreams and disappointment.

      We need to start learning from other nations rather than believing we are still the Masters.

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 

      5 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      Some good points made. I have been waiting 45 years for a decent England team to evolve!! The biggest problem I see is the mentality and how this leads to a lack of team ethic when the going gets tough i.e. when you're in the quarter final stage of a major tournament. We may have world class individuals yes but if they cannot knit with the team and vice versa there's little chance of progress.

      The good old Germans usually don't have flair players or outstanding world class players but always manage to do well in major knock out cups! Why? Team mentality.

      Of course I hope we manage to do something special in Brazil 2014!!!You can always dream!!!!

      Thanks for this hub.


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