Collymore's England Manifesto: My Plan to Win Three Lions the 2026 World Cup
FA chairman Greg Dyke's words were warmly received by me yesterday. I've been talking about a plan to galvanise England's national team for six years; it's almost as if my tweets and radio rants finally made a difference.
We need targets. We need to catch up on the coaching side. There are 35,000 qualified coaches with UEFA A or B badges in Germany. Spain have 25,000. This time last year, England still had less than 6,000. It's simply good not good enough.
Without further ado, here's what I would do tomorrow to make England great again.
|1.||Place a 10 percent levy on all transfer fees, investing that money in the grassroots English game.|
|2.||Allot a proportion of TV income to providing affordable coaching education. It's cost-prohibitive to qualify at the moment and we need to encourage people.|
|3.||Introduce a quota of six British-based players in every Premier League starting XI|
|4.||Assign a qualified UEFA coach to every junior school, secondary school and competitive kids' team in the country|
The Premier League have been too greedy for too long. How refreshing would it be if they came out and said they agreed with Dyke's words and would be taking some steps to support his drive?
Instead of talking about the 39th game, or sitting around with shareholders counting their money, the Premier League ought to be supporting the England national team. They have the power to make a real difference, but they choose not to use it.
When I played for England I had to score 50 goals in 68 games to get my chance—most of them dribbling past a couple of players from the halfway line and smashing a shot into the top corner. I had broken the British transfer record and was one of the best strikers in Europe, but you still had to work to get a look-in.
Back then, we had eight or nine English strikers regularly scoring 20-plus goals a season. These days, you play one good game and you're in the squad. With the greatest respect to Rickie Lambert and Danny Welbeck, they're still both relatively unproven and neither has scored goals consistently at the highest level yet.
A big reason for the dearth of English talent is the tendency for Premier League clubs to look abroad without thinking. They're looking to solve a problem today, rather than thinking about the future.
Take Marouane Chamakh. Are you telling me there isn't a teenage kid in Britain somewhere who couldn't have been developed into a better striker for Arsenal than he was? I could go out and find one tomorrow, coach him myself and save the Gunners a lot of money. There are countless other examples—the likes of Bebe and Anderson at Manchester United among them.
Stan's England plan
My quotas idea might seem radical, but think of the long-term benefits. You'd still see an Arsenal team boasting the likes of Mesut Ozil, Lucas Podolski, Thomas Vermaelen, Wojciech Szczęsny and Olivier Giroud—but around them would be six homegrown players getting their chance to develop.
Look back to the 1960s, 70s and 80s. English clubs like Manchester United, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest were winning European Cups with mostly British players. We can get back to there again if we put faith in our talent again.
As for the FA, they built the new Wembley Stadium at a massive cost—£798 million to be precise. If we'd have saved that money and gone on a national tour for five or six years, we could have invested the money into the grassroots game, coaching education and developing young players.
It's time to act. If the FA and Premier League were to follow my manifesto I strongly believe England can be genuine World Cup contenders for the 2026 edition.
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