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Changing English Football, Development From the Ground Up

Last weekend I watched my ten year old brother play for his local side, he and his team mates are currently preparing for the step up to the 11-a-side game, and just like their opponents, look entirely out of their depth. This of course has nothing to do with their technical ability, which is evident within a number of the young hopefuls, who spent their Sunday afternoon running around a pitch that is too big, wading against a game that is not designed for them.

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mastiffchild3936d ago

Great piece. My nine year old (we live in one of the blackspots in England with no club within 90minutes travel so deals have to be done with pro clubs just to allow them to train with our local boys. Two clubs, one a EPL club with true academy, were interested in my youngest but as he's too young to travel for games I felt travelling to a satellite training thing was too much effort for too little return)is a good little player but as our league is cut off geographically I see it as a microcosm of all these points made, rightly, about the English game here.

Locally one side in each age group hoovers up most of the talent leaving the leagues uncompetitive(not that competition should be the end at this age but if a side wins by a landslide every week the league is broken and those late blossomers or players with parents with ethics never get a go)and usually run for the benefit of the best teams' coaches kids and their friends kids. This just means wanting to win each week and damn making the kids better on the ball.

Defenders are always just big lumps who cannot pass, control the ball or play in any real sense and when they reach under 11 they go fell teams on full size pitches!! Why? Our league just voted that back in AGAIN when they had the chance to stay small pitch and small goals until under thirteen! Now, I had him playing the year above as there was little challenge at his club at his own age last season but as I don';t think they learn ANYTHING at eleven a side at ten/eleven years old I'm taking him back down to under tens in September even though it might mean moving both club and even league to do so.

The cheating at the big tournaments by the cuter big city sides is amazing and they will do anything just to win with kids as young as eight diving, spitting and swearing and standing on toes and grappling at corners. I've seen the little opnes shouted at for taking on their man! How are the English kids ever going to become the Messi's of the World when they aren't ever allowed to carry the ball, to get to know and love the ball? It's a mix of nepotism, bad geographical management, lack of a set pattern for youth football nationwide(insisting on playing small sides and pitches would be a start)and a daft win at all costs attitude over bringing the lads on which cripples our country at football right now.

Don't get me wrong, there are some amazing talents out there and amazing coaches but without a bigger number of people pulling in the same direction UK footy will remain a case of muscle over mind and skill. A lot of parents are blind to the realities of how much talent and abilty and sacrifice a kid also needs to make it in the game and will do anything to do down other kids and kids from poorer backgrounds because they don't like the particular kids mum and dad and so on. English football is in a hole.

Messishow3935d ago

Hi. Many good points you have here. I think that all these points is not just in uk. I think this is how this generation is overall in europe. Maybe Germany is the one country that working good and in the right direction.

mastiffchild3935d ago

Thanks. Yeah, my friend who lives in Germany has a son at( I think) Cologne or Wolfsburg)who's only about 8/9 and even there I see problems. The way they're coached sounds great-short sides, small pitches and everything with the ball at their feet from fitness to tactics and drills but he worries about burn out because they train so much-hours per day on top of school every day with games at the weekend is a risk for youngsters imho.

I can't believe the way kids here are stuck on full size pitches at ten/eleven. It's madness and when you factor in all the nepotism and broken leagues and silly geographical rules it's a mess. that's before we even get to the coaching and the way most youth coaches just encourage kids to pass and tackle and nothing else. the best answer I saw to the kids natural desire to run with the ball and also getting them passing waas one coach who made them make deals with themselves-they could have a dribble for every time they passed etc. that meant they all passed and still all got to keep and enjoy the ball too.

Getting the little kids on big pitches will ALWAYS kill their skills and only help the bigger lads. Messi would never have succeeded in the UK.

Lethaltare3935d ago

very good article looking forward to more!