In the wake of Greg Dyke and the FA Commissions conclusions last week, the debate on how to improve the England team has reignited. Some feel that there should be less foreign players, some believe that B teams will be the solution whilst others want better coaching starting from a young age.
The B team proposal has brought ire from many corners of the footballing world, especially the fans of the Football League, but the FA have a valid reason for bringing it up. Adding them to the league structure gives young players a chance to play first-team football against teams whilst also remaining in a high-quality coaching environment. However, in doing so adding them in will really hurt England’s league structure and would potentially damage other team’s chances of promotion.
It’s an idea that does happen in other European countries but it’s not exactly had the best of successes for every team or even a nation. Spain is an example of it working but only for their biggest two teams, Barcelona and Real Madrid, whilst the others play in almost semi-professional leagues. It’s not worked in Germany, with teams voting to get rid of them after the results did not equal the costs it made to the team.
So what else can be done to improve the England national team? Some would say that there should be more restrictions on foreign players in a team’s starting 11. Giving the young players or even just English players in general a better chance of playing and improving to the point where they could play for the national side.
It does have some significant downsides, the league could suffer due to having to play potentially inferior footballers for the sake of a ruling and it will also mean that the Premier League might not attract the top talent due to the restrictions. Strict rules also haven’t worked well in other countries, Turkey and Russia are the most restrictive and both are yet to see real benefits at international level.
It’s a little worrying that it isn’t blatantly obvious to the higher-ups what needs changing. There needs to be a drastic improvement on coaching at every level, funding to allow that to happen or at least reduced prices so that young players can have that high level of learning throughout their young careers no matter where they start.
It’s also about changing the win-now culture, buying players to dig yourself out of a hole rather than believing in some of the talent you already have. Just look at Sunderland, it took an effort from a loaned-out English youngster in Connor Wickham to turn things around but he also had help from quality foreign talent around him. That needs to be remembered, that world class players around them will also help them improve and that we shouldn’t restrict foreign players from making a living in English football.
From now on we should be Adopting the belief that if they are good enough they are old enough and to not restrict talent by holding them back. Allow them the chance to shine, alongside established players both English and foreign, and they might just snatch it with both hands, until someone gives them that chance you might never know.