England Back To Football Basics

One might wonder why even with the rich football history that England has, there is still not much to write home about in terms of International success. The basic fact is that at the moment, England can only dream of comparison to the likes of Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Netherlands, France and Italy among others. The recent wave of elimination from various tournaments including the World Cup and the European Cup simply cement the fact that England needs to take a walk down the path of ‘football lessons’.


Without a doubt, the English Premier League is one of the greatest if not the greatest football league in the entire world. However, this league is littered with a lot of foreign talent and without belittling the role played by the local talent, it must be noted that the foreign talent is very dominant. Over the years, names like Carlos Tevez, Antonio Valencia, Luka Modric , Dimitar Berbatov, Petr Cech, Christiano Ronaldo, Alexandre Song, Eric Cantona, Tima Cahill, Heurelho Gomes, Nicklas Bendtner , Nicolas Anelka, Thierry Henry and several others are just some of the few foreign names that have graced the Premiership and made it one of the most attractive leagues in the world. True, there are several local players who have lit up the league as well, however one wonders whether England would perform better if its local stars shone a little more within the boundaries of their countries.


It might come down to the fact that after all, the English style of play is somewhat an old fashioned style which is being phased out by other countries. A keen look at the English style of play will depict a style that is more suited to counter attacking sides and also suited for teams that have a lot of physical prowess. Teams that use the style of ‘total football’ as advocated for by legends like Johan Cruyff seem more likely to prosper in today’s football setting. This probably explains why teams like Spain and Brazil that pass the ball a lot more than others tend to have more success as compared to their less adventurous opponents.


The concept of ‘total football’ is one that calls for every player to keep shifting positions as and when they receive the ball. The idea is to ensure that no single player draws too much attention to themselves and this in turn gives the opposing team a lot more work because every player is a threat at any time. It also means that the team defends as a unit and also hunts for goals as a unit.


The England national team has been blessed with several talented players over the decades and one can not be blamed for expecting a lot more from them. However, what seems to be happening year in, year out is that England has continuously underperformed and it is probably high time the ‘three lions’ started to rethink their football basics. At this point, it might be necessary to overhaul the team, and create a new crop of players who understand the concept of total football, maybe then will England will move ahead.


Written by Jason King

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