Monday, 5 July 2010

Building for the Future

With no World Cup matches recently, it has given the English football pundits something else other than the World Cup scandal to talk about, namely the future of the England National Team and English Football in general.

The problem according to many a Sports commentator on Radio, Web and print is the lack of coaching staff that teach the talented footballers aged between 8 - 11. TalkSport radio has been pressing this issue all day, the fact that apparently there's only 50 coaches in all of England teaching the talented youths aged under 11, compared to the 150 odd in Spain, currently ranked number 2 in the World. In Spain as well, the best coaches work with the youngsters, to get them to understand the game and rid them of the fear of losing, something which is apparently backwards in this country, with the best coaches working with the talented adults.

But surely the coaching system in this country isn't as bad as people have been making out? Look for example at the recent succes of the England U17's as they beat Spain to lift the European Championship. Young players such as Connor Wickham from Ipswich, are proving that the English style of coaching and the English game as a whole can produce talented youngsters. Wickham not only scored the winner against Spain for England, but bagged six goals for himself and Roy Keane's Ipswich last season (09/10), which is impressive for such a young, talented player.

However players like Wickham still have a few more years to mature physically and as footballers. Over time good players will only become better, take Wayne Rooney or even Michael Own for example. Both were exceptional talents at 18 and over time both developed into brilliant strikers, Wayne Rooney still has time to become even better and the same should happen for Wickham.

That is not to say we don't have any young, talented footballers right now that couldn't slot into Fabio Capello's squad.

The first is the most obvious: Theo Walcott - The 21 year old Arsenal Winger has brilliant pace, has a fantastic knack for losing his man and getting into the box. Unfortunately it is also well documented that he's not the final product just yet. His crossing is dubious at best and his finishing in front of goal is hit and miss at times, however it's better to be hit and miss rather than never taking the chance.

His speed alone can make up for these shortcomings and this extra element to the England Squad could have perhaps been what was missing during the games against the USA and Algeria when England looked flat at times.

Next is Adam Johnson - A talented individual who only last year was playing in the Championship but since his move to Man City he's grown in leaps and bounds as a player. A brilliant left foot and pace to boot which he can use down the wing or in the centre of the midfield, for many Johnson was certainly someone that we could have done with in South Africa to free up Gerrard to play behind the striker. At 22 he's got a bright future ahead of him and with the arrival of David Silva at Eastlands, he'll not only have healthy competition to earn a start but someone equally talented to learn from.

The last one for today, Jack Rodwell - The defensive midfielder who can play as a centreback for Everton, is perhaps one of the brightest talents in Stuart Pearce's U21 squad. For Everton and England Rodwell has showcased his passing ability and his physicality in the midfield, as well as his intelligence on the pitch, choosing his forward runs with great effect, often resulting in a goal or great scoring opportunity.

Rodwell is definitely one to look out for in the future, as apparently he could be the next Rio Ferdinand according to the lad himself, with Rio being his idol. Everton Manager David Moyes has also apparently stated that Rodwell's future perhaps lies at the heart of the defence as the sturdy centreback everyone can rely on. For now however let's simply marvel at this midfield maestro in his current club position.

These were just three (slightly obvious) young players to look at for in the next season and the Euro 2012 campaign. There are plenty others out there that haven't been mentioned such as Ryan Shawcross and Jack Wilshere but as time goes on I'm sure we'll all be aware of their talent, some sooner rather than later.

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