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David Holdsworth: England need structure to follow Spain's masterplan

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: October 12, 2012

Roy Hodgson

Roy Hodgson

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This week the trials and tribulations of England will grab the headlines as they take the next steps in their World Cup qualifying campaign.

When you look through the squad there is probably only Joe Hart who I would say is a world class player.

You may argue Ashley Cole and Wayne Rooney, but they are very much open for debate. Cole has not been pushed for his place for a long time and Rooney has not set the world alight for me for a while.

It is a depressing situation and sadly the Football Association have only themselves to blame.

The England football team is one that is well behind the rest of the leading nations in the rest of Europe – especially Spain.

What is holding us back? Quite simply, our structure.

Every team in football needs a structure. Be it here at Lincoln City in the Blue Square Premier, Arsenal in the Premier League or Spain in the international set up.

What I mean by structure is setting out your aims, deciding how you are going to reach that, and then getting on and implementing it.

Spain did this brilliantly. A nation for so long which was off the pace on the international scene has set out a formation and system they want to adhere to and then developed the youth coaching to deliver it.

Before them France did it and Germany right now are developing a lot of good young players.

Here in England we cannot even decide on the formation. We swap and change to suit the opposition, rather than making the opposition worry about us.

It has gone on for so long and it is only now being addressed.

Roy Hodgson is the man having to deal with the legacy of not having a structure and he has a tough job because of it.

The lack of a structure has left Hodgson very little to pick from in terms of players and he is also not helped by the circus that has become attached to it in recent years.

Right now he is at a point where he is trying to develop his team for two years down the line.

He should be thinking, 'Frank Lampard, will he be part of my plans for Brazil in 2014?', of course he won't.

But if Hodgson even dared to think he should try and develop a team for two years down the line at the expense of some big names he is in danger of being rounded on by the critics.

If anything, John Terry deciding to retire from international football was the best break Hodgson could have.

I believe if Hodgson and England are to succeed there needs to be a real long-term plan in place.

We need to address the youth coaching.

Why are young kids being moved up to play on adult sized pitches?

It is ridiculous.

It is time for us to show some guts, get a structure in place and stop looking for a quick fix.

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  • nigelsparky  |  October 21 2012, 7:58PM

    No more odious than the Ferdinands. Everyone seems to have forgotten that that these two brothers have bought plenty of shame onto the game and themselves eh! Wonder what punishment the FA will impose on Rio Ferdinand after his racist tweet!

  • eatmygoal  |  October 19 2012, 1:29PM

    Ronaldo and Messi might disagree with you about Cole. Odious person, world class defender.

  • OldLincolnia  |  October 19 2012, 11:39AM

    Poor Tom Cleverley had to play in front of clown Cole to protect him. Why has it taken this long to realise he can't defend for toffees? Baines et al are a class ahead. Gerrard, Lampard and Terry all part of the Golden era that won NOWT, and its time to wave goodbye.

  • franky68  |  October 17 2012, 8:40PM

    Looks as though we are back to the Euro's with to-day's England result with Poland. Defending a 1-0 lead,its a habit you have to get rid of Mr Hodgson after managing West Brom.What will happen next with Monte***** twice, and Ukraine away.??? We did it with Italy and finished up losing on penalties.Get it together Roy for goodness sake.

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  • franky68  |  October 13 2012, 11:21AM

    I totally agree with what you are saying Nigel. The FA making excuses, and former poro's saying the young players are no there. After the debacle in South Africa those players should have had theirinternational careers finished then, erdinand and Terry have been suffering back injuries all of that if the truth be known. The Germans saw t two years ago withtheir squad and changed the whole set up and now look where they are now with a very young squad. Our yung players have always been there waiting to come through, and are now all really doing it for their respective clubs.

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  • nigelsparky  |  October 12 2012, 11:56PM

    I have to agree with what Holdsworth says, as I have been saying much the same for a while now. England have never implemented any sort of a plan. We always go to tournaments with ageing mediocre players, instead of giving youth a chance. Even just recently, ex players and pundits have been calling for Rio Ferdinand's return to the England squad. Why do we keep doing this? As I have said before, we are an under achieving nation at international level using dinosaur coaching techniques etc. One final in all our history and that was nearly half a century ago!. We need to wake up to this fact, instead of saying that we are ranked 3 or 4 in the world and have not been beaten in competitive football for over two years , and who have we played in that time? and saying Italy only beat us on penalties, as if that was some kind of achievement, wake up guys, we LOST as usual! Ever wonder why the Germans said they would have rather been playing us instead of Italy? We quite simply are under achieving, like it or not, just getting out of the group stages is not an achievement in my eyes. Players like lampard,and Gerrard have had their day and with two years to the next tournament, they should be dispensed with now, but they won't because that's what we like to do, take old has beens that are well passed their sell by date, yes they can do a job now but in two years time? It's called forward thinking and England has never really done that before.

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  • redimp27  |  October 12 2012, 6:23PM

    ''As a country we need to realise that everything is geared around the clubs, from support to the players.'' And that is the root cause of the problem. It is the Neanderthal tribal attitude most of us have had over the years to club rivalries. Most of the rest of the world have grown up and it's time we English did too.

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  • Isambard_KB  |  October 12 2012, 5:44PM

    "We need to address the youth coaching. Why are young kids being moved up to play on adult sized pitches? It is ridiculous. It is time for us to show some guts, get a structure in place and stop looking for a quick fix." Slightly out of touch on this one, Reg. The FA have introduced new formats for younger age groups from this season starting with 5v5 for 5-6 year olds, 7v7 for 8-10, 9v9 for 11-12 and only moving to full size pitches and goals at U13. I coach an U11 (year 6) team (9 v 9). My thoughts are a) The goals at 7 foot high are too big. The best size would be 6' high and 7 yards wide. b) Some pitches are still too big c) Offside at U11 is a year too early We stay in the same format in U12 (year 7) The problem in England is that clubs have always recruited the biggest, most athletic kids rather than the smaller ones irrespective of ability. The theory was that they could teach a fast kid to play but they couldn't give pace to a skilfull kid. Result: Theo Walcott In Spain, Barcalona in particular, have focussed on ball skills and movement and hence Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Fabregas and many other smaller payers have developed. Messi apart, they may not have even been recruited in England as they could have been consdiered too small. The clubs are starting to move away from just selecting the big kids. The problem now is that it'll take time for the new generation to come through and our Premiership and Championship team squads are full of overseas players. Of course, the Lincoln City youth team is showing some promise. Up the Imps

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  • Spilsby  |  October 12 2012, 11:41AM

    Cole has never been pushed becuase he is world class, and to be pushed requires another world class player. You can't knock a player on that basis.

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  • Spilsby  |  October 12 2012, 11:30AM

    Has anybody else read this line and raised their eyebrows... "Here in England we cannot even decide on the formation. We swap and change to suit the opposition, rather than making the opposition worry about us."

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