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We are just not good enough
10:00am Thursday 12th September 2013 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
I FIND it strange that the Premier League is continually blamed for the failure of the England team.
Every time the national team fails to do well at a major tournament, pundits are falling over themselves to point the finger at the amount of imported talent — or “foreigners” — in our top division.
The argument is that an ever-increasing number of players from around the globe are giving the national manager, currently Roy Hodgson, fewer English players to pick from.
This is true and the influx of overseas players has certainly not helped the progression of youngsters from these shores.
But, and it pains me to say it being a critic of the league for its exuberance, to hold it up as the main reason England do badly on the international stage is not entirely fair.
When the Premier League was launched 20 years ago, there were considerably more homegrown players competing.
Yet, having reached the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup in Italy, England promptly crashed at Euro ‘92 in Sweden under Graham Taylor and failed to qualify for USA ‘94.
There was no Premier League or raft of foreigners to blame then, not least because the pre-Bosman ruling of only being allowed three non-English players in a squad was still in force. Back then we just weren’t very good and, if truth be told, we haven’t moved on much.
Generally speaking, England have always been decent but not great.
Good enough to reach the quarter-finals of most events but lacking what it takes to do any better on a regular basis. Put another way, consistently inconsistent.
The trouble is, we seem to have this belief that we have a right to be better than we are based on having won the World Cup in 1966. This is little more than arrogance.
We see the likes of Spain, Germany and Italy doing well and think we should be like them but don’t really know how to achieve it.
Football Association chairman Greg Dyke doesn’t seem to either. Last week he set England the aim of reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2020 and winning the World Cup in Qatar two years later.
At no point did he put forward a realistic proposal of how we would do this, other than setting up a “commission” to have a chat about it and see if they have an answer.
Maybe we just aren’t producing good enough players? It’s just a thought. Perhaps the system is failing us.
Maybe Dyke should get his own house in order before pointing fingers elsewhere.
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