Guide to this winter's Australia v England series
Live this weekend: Aston Villa v Man Utd
Download our podcast as Neil Reynolds and Jeff Reinebold talk about the big NFL issues.
Thierry Henry talked Arsenal, Ronaldo, Messi and more on our Champions League coverage.
How F1 history would have been different had double points always been awarded at the final GP.
Follow the latest from the written press with the best gossip and speculation from the papers.
Thierry Henry is at Sky Studios on Wednesday and we want YOU to vote for his best Arsenal goal.
Skysports.com's Chris Harvey puts forward his five-point plan for transforming England's international fortunes.Back to story
That's all very well, but you, Sky, are the biggest player in terms of the media muscle. And a plan such as suggested will take years to bear fruit. Are you and the rest of the media about to give whatever governing body or team head coach the time to develop under this plan? Probably not. Therefore the plan, as good as it is, is doomed to failure from the start. I used to coach juniors and now I referee both seniors and juniors and I am the first to admit that at junior level the majority of coaches are determined that their set of lads are going to win the league. There are a few who coach lads to play for fun and to learn irrespective of the result. Parents are as bad. If their lad's team is not winning the barracking becomes ridiculous. And worse still are the impatient and fickle fans - one defeat, let's sack the manager, or the player is useless, or I'm not coming again - we've heard it all before. If it isn't instant sucess then it's not good enough. How many fans do you ever hear applauding the opposition after some superb piece of football or a well struck attempt on goal? Only once in my 55 years have I ever heard fans clap the opposition off the park, and that was when City were treated to a footballing feast by Arsenal at Maine Road, 5-1 was the score I think and Arsenal were absolutely brilliant. But that is once in 55 years! It's not just the football management that has to adapt and change but everybody from the media to the fans. If we can change then, and only then, can we dare to dream of sucess.
Posted 17:34 29th June 2010
The blueprint for successful football was all to see last night when Brazil played. They have a system which is more important than the players, a system built on 4 forward players who are allowed to be free and take risks supported by two holding midfielders and a solid back four. This allows fbacks to bomb on but maintains a solid cube with two holding midfielders and two solid centrebacks. This systems hasnt changed for many years in Brazil and they pick players to fit in the system. Who would of though Kleberson and Gilberto Silva would be in another Brazil side possibly winning the world cup??, they are because the system needs those players to fit the roles so Kaka and Robinho can have the freedom to express themselves. England havnt got the players i here people say!!! thats crazy both our full backs attack well with Ferdinand and Terry solid cbacks with good young guys in reserve, holding midfielders choose any two from Barry, Hargreaves, King or Beckham (yes remember Beckham played this role for Real Madrid) the three flair players in front of these who can take risks and get forward pick three from Rooney, Gerrard, J Cole, Lampard etc, then Crouch as the lone frontman. Pick the system stick to it and get players to fit the system rather than playing in effective strikers because Rooney like its, or Gerrard on the left so you dont have to drop Rooney, this is where Capello and others have failed. Also how many of the current england squad play 4-4-2 in there club sides, probably none
Posted 17:16 29th June 2010
Firstly, there is nothing wrong with the young talent in english football and the foreign injection has taught the young players invaluable skills, the problem is that most of the young talent don't have 'wags' or multiple sponsors and constant praise in the biased press, we had players that could've got us much further however we didnt use them and when we did, they were played out of the game through bad positioning, why did we take speedy wingers when capello played wing backs all the time that kept going forward meaning the proper wingers had to drop back to cover, it made lennon look a fool as he spent most of the america game clearing up after johnson,we need to have a clear out of the FA and replace them with ex-footballers who know the game,ban players from getting sponsors as they get enough money already and huge mega-sponsors put pressure on the managers to play certain players(remember the whole ronaldo incident in 98?)get in an english manager who knows how to communicate with the team on a personal as well as professional level and bring in a wage cap to try to get kids wanting to play football for the love of the game and not the money.
Posted 17:13 29th June 2010
Unfortunately the clubs are too strong to agree to half of the excellent suggestions I have read in this article, especially the Premier League clubs. Still¿ here goes¿my suggestion is¿ I think England should go on a short tour or host a small tournament themselves at the end of each season. The idea being the manager can experiment without the big tournament pressure. He would see and get to know his players better, who likes to train and who doesn¿t. Who gets homesick or spends too much time in the local betting shop or out clubbing. The team can experience regular meaningful matches against good opponents, and most of all bond as a team, there will be disappointments to bounce back from, but at least they, as Team England, would be used to playing in a tournament. When was the last time Capello spent 14 days or more with the players?
Posted 17:09 29th June 2010
As a Brit living abroad its all the more difficult to take the stick after successive England football disasters in European/World cup competitions. We all thought that this time around was going to be different and it should have been: we have world class players so what went wrong? Could it be pressure from the media? Exhaustion from the English football season which is so demanding on players (how would you feel if you were told that after an extremely busy year you couldn't take any holiday; instead its back to work with double the effort - how would you perform?) Rooney is the clear example of this: in all the world cup matches he looked a burnt out wreck; and so did many other players. As things will not change in terms of the pressure of the English game and the media will probably only get worse, things don't look too good do they?
Posted 16:43 29th June 2010
I agree with most of this especially about the youngsters. Scrap all competetive football for kids up to 14 and their pushy parents who aggravate the situation with their inane and ceasless shouting. Coach the kids and let the coaches pick teams of similar ability regardless of age to play against each other on smaller pitches and more importantly use a smaller ball. A size 5 ball is far too big for small children. Even get them playing with a tennis ball for part of the time. This is not about taking competetiveness out of kids but quite the reverse as they would strive to become more skillful and quicker to be in the "top" group. Too many top level players need a touch to think so more one touch, two touch, three touch exercises should be adopted. I'm not sure about coaching the coaches. Yes we need coaches but surely we do not want steryotypes who will only offer what they have been taught. We need some originality otherwise we will get to a point and then stand still. It's going to be a tough and long haul but other countries have done it so let's hope the governing bodies that be have some balls of their own!!
Posted 16:35 29th June 2010
We need one Umbrella.... too many chiefs and not enough indians Unfortuntaley.... everyone is missing the big issue here...the reason why other countries achieved better than us, is that they work under one governing body.. but here in England the FA are competing with other football bodies eg the FA Premier League , The Football League and th PFA... have more power and control than the FA.... and secondly culturally our players are not developed like most overseas countries who place a greater emphasis on learning the game,,,,but the result is all that matter.. it how you play and develop. However most coaches in England are more interested in winning.. even though they more thrive for that during training... when its comes matches most want to win....
Posted 16:20 29th June 2010
I coach children from the ages of 4 to 8 years old. The change to mini soccer was a fantastic thing for the future of English football. However I agree that kids should not go to 11 a side until at least 14 years of age. Also I do not think we have gone far enough. We have to learn lessons off other sports. The biggest issue I see week in week out is coaches categorising players in to positions at too young an age. All young players should be able to play in or have a basic understanding of all positions on the pitch. Thus making them a better all round player and letting them find their best position, rather than the coach telling them where to play. In order to do this, we must copy the Hi 5 netball model. In a nutshell, the game is split into 4 quarters. Each player, including substitutes starts in a position, then at the end of the first quarter they all rotate positions in a set format as set out by the ruling organisation and so on. If we were to adapt this to mini soccer (7 a side) then I believe we would have better players and more players would be retained within the sport. So simple, but I honestly believe this will work. Let¿s put a solid framework in place and concentrate on a new generation of footballers.
Posted 16:17 29th June 2010
I totaly agree with what you have stated we must bring in fresh new players with talent into the england fold now and ready and blooded for the next world cup but one thing about the current players is that they seem fit enough compared to other teams is there something lacking in our coaching staff at top level and if there is it should be addressed before the next crop of young players get caught in the same rut
Posted 16:14 29th June 2010
I am very confused how everyone is jumping on the media band wagon of our country needs a national football revolution, which player in the 23 man squad didnt play in the 1st team in the worlds best and hardest league in the world? also the teams we played against inthe group stages should have been beaten by a team in the championship which does not have such a massive problem with non-homegrown players. The problem with this country is training players and managers that can handle the pressure that our newspapers pointlessly pile on them to perform and if they fail we slate their personal life, if we want to ever win a world cup. we should put a ban on the media putting negative stories in the lead up or during national competitions?!
Posted 16:11 29th June 2010
There are many problems with our national game but are we maybe missing something really obvious. Greece won Euro 2004 without any recognised stars and the majority of that side had not played much or any champions leauge football. South Korea world cup semi finals 2002 only Park Ji Sung had any champions leauge experience (PSV). Denmark in Euro 92, Ghana 2010. Football is a team game of which a descent coach would be able to organise a set up and structure for players to operate within. It is not about massaging the ego's of so called star players. Coach Capello made the excuse about tiredness in the players when they arrived in South Africa. I don't know what he expected he watches the Premier League week in, week out. The players have been tired for every major tournament that we have qualified for. What was he expecting to be different this time. These are fundamentaly the same players who have limped out of the last four tournaments we have played. Sport is all about taking your chance. This current batch of England players had already had theirs when Capello was appointed. The FA stupidly set a target of qualifying for the World Cup and given Coach Capello's record he should have stated that there would need to be a major overhaul. Instead of trying to rebuild a team from scratch that can learn to play together and deveop ( like the Germans after (1998) he stuck a load of so called superstars in and hoped to muddle through. Their is no ego in the word team but in Capello's there was too many. I am sorry to say that Adrian Bevington and the bumbling idiots left at the FA should all be sacked as should the Coach. Any Player the wrong side of thirty in 2014 should immeadiately be dropped and told there is no way back. Home grown quoata's are a must, as is better coaching, A winter break is needed (half the matches in Jan get postponed anyway). Ring Clive Woodward up and tell him to sort out the mess.
Posted 16:11 29th June 2010
The main problem that see with the Engish game is that there are too many Foreign and too few English players in the Premiership. A move to limit the number of Foreign players to '3 on the field' at any one time would be a massive step forward. It would mean that we have more choice for the English National team ( Players from the top teams rather than those in the lower reaches of the Premiership). If the Premier League is that good - how many German/Spanish/Brazillian/Dutch players in their World cup squads are playing in it ? Whe we last won the World cup - albeit 44 years ago - we could have picked 2 or 3 good teams from the English First division, capable of playing for their country. Now how many good teams can we pick - not even One! The main reason that the existing players cannot reproduce their 'Club form' playing for England, is due to the fact that they are playing in a 'Foreign league, full of Foreign players'. The Football league have the opportunity now to put it right, and sort this mess out that they have got us into. Introduce a Quota system - and get the young developing English players back where they belong, into the Premiership - not the 'Northern Premiership'!
Posted 15:56 29th June 2010
Couldn't agree more, the first article I've read that doesn't say ''sack the manager, the players are great.'' At the moment I'm watching Paraguay vs Japan. It's not Argentina vs Spain, granted, but both teams are better than us technically. These players didn't learn their skills at 19 or 20 while at their clubs. They picked them up at 9, 10 or 11. Paraguay has a population of 6 and a half million, for gods sake, We have over 50 million in England. I totally agree with appointing someone to oversee the complete overhaul of English football, and it pains me to say I think Mr Wenger would be the man for the job. What about several advisers as well, maybe Scholes, Giggs, Zola, Bergkamp, people of the ability of Liam Brady, whoever. Just do it so I may see my team once make a final.
Posted 15:32 29th June 2010
I am all for building the foundations for a new sqaud to take to the 2014 world cup but the problem lies with our club teams. How can you play players that rarely get in the starting 11 at there respected clubs and then expect them to perform at international level. If players like walcott, rodwell, wiltshire, gosling, spearing, gibbs and hart (if he goes back to M.city) cannot get on the pitch for their clubs what hope is there that we can build a young fresh team for 2014! Until a cap is put in place we will have the same problem in 4 years!!!
Posted 15:11 29th June 2010
Good article.It is this kind of topics that have to be encouraged in order to see tangible changes in ENGLISH FOOTBAL.Still i cant believe after all the mess we have seeing in the world cup many people blame the managers and very shy on criticising the players. Please is there any difference between Ericson and Cpello or MClaren in terms of big tactical change or anything else.There is nothing in my opinion .The fact remain that they are dealing with the same old players.During Ericson era Roonie is roonie .Gerard cannot change overnight a skilfull dribller that can pass two or three players.Same old Gerrard.No one from the whole team can keep the ball and turn around players.There is no one to mention that he can keep the ball in the whole england team.We can alter the formation as much as you like but ultimately the ball is hoofed to Rooney and a decent marker simply can do the job.We have seen it time and time again.If Rooney is shining at Man U is tanks to Ronaldo and other foreigners who surround him.The same apply to all others england players. Unfortunately the premier league has encouraged all the way this kind of tactics and the tugs like Sam Allardice which ruin the essence of football by encouraging english players to hard tackle players they keep the ball in they `r feet. We have seen already enough broken legs in the peach and the media have to take they`r share on encouraging and back tapping tugs. Engalnd are ripping what they sow. Fact is good english or non english players are not protected enough by referee.Look at Walcot how is being treated last season .I do reckon on this world cup Walcot would have taken england a bit further.True, referee do not allow a silly fouls to carry on and the foreigners that play in england where red carded or cautioned. Capello like his predecesors do not have a gut to make this changes he just choose old players.Thanks God he didn`t bring Beckham.
Posted 15:05 29th June 2010
This sums it up for me. My dad ran a junior football side in our local youth leagues when a scout from Newcastle turned up enquiring about his central midfielder. Great first touch, stamina, comfortable on the ball, good passer etc. etc. the scout wanted to have a word with the lad's father and when my dad told hm that his mam usually brought him to games the scout replied, 'No I need to see his dad to see how big he'll get to by the time he's 16/17.' Think the scouts who picked up messrs Xavi, Messi, Iniesta, Robinho asked to see the size of their parents before taking them on? Something fundamentally wrong with the way football is played in this country.
Posted 15:04 29th June 2010
"it is the duty of the clubs to produce players to represent England"......Chris you are totally out of order like all the so called socccer pundits and the football media journalists. The British live in cloud cuckoo land . They think because we invented the game (debateable0 we should be best at it. More nonsense. On a national level we are simply not good enough for two main reasons.The first reason was pointed out earlier. We now live in an affluent society where football has become a big business associated with fame and celebrities and amateurs in the officiating bodies who are there for their own egos sake. Kids nowadays dont want to be footballers they want to be famous!! They want to be prancing prima donnas likle Beckam et al. We dont have the abject poverty here that breeds footballers with technique and style. The best players over time have always come from the back streets and learned their skills against a back entry wall or in a back yard playing with a tennis ball. However we cant change this but we can change the way we introduce youngsters to the game. The other main reason we dont produce top national sides is because our whole system is geared to physique and the long ball game . Too many kids play too many competetive games at 11 a side on big pitches with big goals and the hoof out of defence is widely applauded. Countries like Brazil and Argentina produce "footballers" and then they use them as full backs or centre backs or wingers. Our country produce centre backs (big lads) wingers (speedy lads) midfielders (low centre of gravity lads) and goalies (big lads who cant get a game ). This is due to well intentioned but neverthe less amateur coaches (teachers) in primary schools. let kids play football for fun and to develop ball skills and have this at all levels with less competetive matches and you wil eventually see national sides with skill and technique.
Posted 15:01 29th June 2010
1. Premier league needs reducing to 18 teams. 2. League cup participation for prem clubs to have maximum age of 20. 3. FA cup 3rd round onwards to be seeded for prem and championship clubs. 4. Premier league season to run 40 weeks. 1st sat of aug - 1st Sun of May. 5. 3 week winter break. No money making friendlys allowed. 6. Scrap community shield. 7. Hold regular England training sessions outside of international match calendar. 8. Build Burton 9. Implement grass roots strategy 10. Sell wembley.
Posted 14:45 29th June 2010
Some excellent ideas. Perhaps Wenger should be the next England manager? I'm all for smaller sided games at a young age. As a Head of PE, I've seen hundreds of games where the big quick lad up front totally dominates so lump it up there and let him get on with it. Smaller pitches and smaller teams will make massive improvements to our ability to keep the ball. To use the cup competitions and make them play eight British players is a great idea. Give it the promise of europa/champions league football for the winners, and all of a sudden we'll see the new generation, and they'll actually get some experience.
Posted 14:44 29th June 2010
Couldn't agree more with the short sided game for kids. Here in the USA, my son (and daughter) are taught and play short sided games at 6/7 years old it's 5 on 5 (no goalie. small goals), then by 10 y.o. it's 7 on 7. Their club (Manhattan kickers) has travelled to England and beat all the youth sides (including Arsenal Youth team) they played. I grew up in England and had trials at Watford... I can totally see the diff in skill level my kids have. If England want to win the world cup again (before USA do), then they totally need to overhaul how youth football is played NOW!!
Posted 14:40 29th June 2010