BULLDOG SPIRIT WILL ALWAYS WIN THROUGH
MUCH is made at the top level of the recruitment of English players. Liverpool top this summer’s home recruitment with four signings (Clyne, Milner, Ings, Gomez). Watford on the other hand have made 11 foreign signings.
In total, 77 per cent of the 125 signings made by Premier League clubs were not English with Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United – three of last season’s top four – failing to sign a single English player.
So what is the reality of what is going on? Is it simply that our homegrown players are not good enough to be given an opportunity, or are there other factors?
There is unquestionably a financial factor to the situation. English players do get snapped up very young by agencies nowadays who are highly commercial and very professional and thorough in their support of their talent. Players get high expectations of their earnings and become ‘pricey’.
The same is not always the case for players from overseas. Representation can often be less commercial and, as a consequence, the deals available on players leads to more of them being gifted openings.
But we shouldn’t get away from the real fact that we still aren’t producing the talent that is being produced overseas. As hard as we are trying over here, in the end, we are not succeeding in developing players who are as good as those from further afield.
I enjoyed a private chat with a very well known footballing figure over the summer. He gave me great insight into the differences between Spanish kids and English kids from his extensively knowledgable point of view.
He put the main difference down to privilege, hunger and work ethic. He pointed to less privilege, and more hunger in Spain. More hunger leading to more willingness to run through a brick wall to become better.
He pointed to the keys at Barcelona; not just a phenomenal ability to retain the ball, move fluently and score clinically, but an inbuilt attitude to run hard and fast to pressurise oppositions as a pack, to work with ferocious intensity without the ball.
We must make sure in England that we DO continue to improve the technical and tactical sides to our game. But we must never forget that we were revered for the Bulldog spirit; we were renowned for our work ethic; we were feared for our character and appetite.
Our young footballers must see the big picture and make sure that they realise just how hungry others are around the world to get to the top.
Privilege encourages complacency.We must ensure that we breed desire.
NEW BLOOD: Joe Gomez’s switch from Charlton to Liverpool was a rare English recruitment over the summer