Big debate: does it matter if the next England manager is English?

Howard Wilkinson and Javier Clemente discuss the ongoing question over the country’s top football job

My Comment

Isn’t part of the interest and fun in international footy that different styles and football cultures are pitted against each other?

Javi makes some good points about English footy and I can add that here in Spain the Premier League is second only to La Liga in popularity and always has been as far as I can remember. Why don’t more people watch Italian football in Europe? Could it be that a lot of people find the ‘hyper-defence’ boring? Italians used to applaud the ‘Catenaccio’ in action and the endless 1 nil matches. Fair enough that style of play comes from Italian football culture. But is that the way we really want ENGERLAND to play?

My best memories of England performances in recent years have been: vs. Poland & Argentina in the 1986 World Cup. The semi in 1990. Vs Holland & Germany in Euro 1996 and Argentina in 1998. Performances when ENGERLAND played like ENGERLAND – fast paced attacking passing football. Ok we haven’t won the cups but at that level the difference between victory and defeat is sometimes detirmined by luck.

I’m not against a non-English manager per se but I am against the idea we have to try and copy other nation’s style of play. English and foreign players in the Premiership play in the English style in the main. It’s said that even the best foreign players need a year to adapt to our style. I’ve heard interviews with Spanish players who play in the Premiership who marvel at the pace and ‘never-say-die’ attitude in England. They take that attitude on the pitch when they play for Spain. Something they learn from English football.

So why do we expect ENGERLAND players to stroke the ball around the back for half an hour like the Italians when we play internationals? Why try and get our players to adopt a strange system?

As Javi said we have great players. Let’s just let them play the way they are used to. I think on balance a British manager could best achieve that.


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