Let’s go toworld Cup do­ing it our way!

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - Gra­ham West­ley

Iam cer­tain that Sir Alex Fer­gu­son, Rafa Ben­itez, Arsene Wenger and Roberto Mancini will all share cer­tain ideals and all dis­agree on cer­tain fun­da­men­tals.Yet each man has pro­duced a tro­phy-win­ning football team. We all know that there is more than one way to skin a cat.You can travel from Lon­don to Manch­ester by road, rail or air. You could walk, run or ride if you had the time. There are no right or wrong ways of achiev­ing the same out­come.

So it an­noys me when I hear peo­ple talk­ing about play­ing football the ‘right way’. Peo­ple said that Ian Hol­loway played football the ‘right way’ when his Black­pool team reached the Pre­mier League. I won­der if Ian will go about his work any dif­fer­ently now that he has re­turned to the Pre­mier League? First time around, do­ing things the ‘right way’ re­sulted in rel­e­ga­tion.

This week I heard Gary John­son say­ing that he would be con­tin­u­ing to play football the ‘Yeovil way’. He would not be chang­ing his philoso­phies for any­body. He knew what his teams strengths were and he in­tended to fo­cus on im­prov­ing those but not on chang­ing them.

Strengths

I com­pletely get where he is com­ing from.

It is my strong be­lief that we are too fo­cused as a na­tion upon win­ning the ‘right way’ rather than just find­ing our own way to win.We don’t have to copy the Brazil­ians or the Span­ish.We don’t have to be Ger­many or Italy. Eng­land have al­ways had their own strengths and, too of­ten, I be­lieve that we un­der­es­ti­mate the power of play­ing to our strengths.

Chelsea prob­a­bly didn’t de­serve to be crowned Euro­pean Cham­pi­ons when they were. But they got there none­the­less. They found a way.

As we pre­pare for a World Cup next sum­mer, let’s as a na­tion give up on wor­ry­ing about pure ideals. Let’s work out our strengths and play to those strengths. I don’t be­lieve any­body truly rel­ishes play­ing against the English.

Sir Bobby Rob­son took us so close in 1990 when he built a spirit, a true Bull­dog spirit, into our squad. That in it­self can take you a very, very long way.Yes he had good play­ers. But the thing that stood out for me was the con­fi­dence that came from the unity in pas­sion and pride of his play­ers.

Egos were put to one side. The team mat­tered most. The coun­try mat­tered more. Let’s get to the fi­nals how­ever we can and let’s progress at the fi­nals do­ing what we are very good at do­ing. Brazil are no­to­ri­ous for their flair; Italy for their de­fen­sive or­gan­i­sa­tion; Ger­many for their ruth­less ef­fi­ciency.

In 1966, Eng­land won the World Cup. Let’s re­mem­ber that. And let’s re­mem­ber that we played like Eng­land to win it.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

TEAM SPIRIT: Bobby Rob­son with his 1990 World Cup squad

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