Monday, 5 July 2010

England football team

Back around December 2007-January 2008, thinking about the state of the England football team, I came to the conclusion that the way forward was as follows, which is definitely not a quick-fix.
  1. Current premiership players to be banned from selection to England team. They are not and will never be sufficiently committed to the national team, as their ambitions are focused elsewhere, to the international arena of premiership clubs and all the associated sponsorship opportunities and celebrity culture.
  2. Establish a pool of central contracts, very much like rugby union and cricket, to encourage and stabilise promising talent and form the core of the team.
  3. Whilst this no doubt would be hugely disruptive for the team at first, once Division 1 & 2 players get used to the new situation, they will see there are two equally valid career paths : national team or Premiership.
  4. There must be significant periods of whole-team training. Again this is something rugby and cricket have resolved. The Division 1 and 2 clubs need to see that a successful national side is essential to their well-being. It took rugby and cricket clubs years to 'get' this and it's unlikely that Premiership clubs would ever accept such a sacrifice.
  5. Premiership managers to be banned from selection as England manager, since they inevitably have similar issues to the players. Ideally only former England players should be eligible but EU employment laws may hamper this. This is an important part of building a proper career structure and motiviation around the national team.

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