England Must Change To Grow as a Football Nation
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The word "change" is commonly used by candidates who wish to run for election. The need for change is something people can relate to, and more importantly something people want.
The old saying remains true, if something isn't broken then why fix it. But if it's been broken, and pieces have attempted to be put back together in vain, then a fix or "change" is undoubtedly required.
In recent years, it seems the honour in playing for England has diminished somewhat. The passion to wear the three lions crest upon the heart seemed something of the past. The World Cup campaign of 2010 was one that would hope to be forgotten, yet will remain as a campaign that has tarnished English football in recent years.
Not only the defeat, but the manner in which England's "golden generation" were humbled by Germany's up-and-coming stars was embarrassing. In truth, it was a reality check as to how far behind we are as a nation, and more importantly, how much needs to be changed in order to repair the damage that has been done.
As a nation, change is undoubtedly required. the past two tournaments reinforce this: failing to qualify for the European Championships in 2008 and, well, the less said about the debacle of the World Cup, the better. Due to the FA's—at the time ingenious—idea to reward Fabio Capello an extended contract following the World Cup Qualifying campaign, the possibility of "change" of manager was never going to occur. The odd few million pounds in compensation made sure of that.
So if the manager is to remain, then what must "change"? The players? The structure and foundation of the English game?
"Youth is the future" is an understatement, but one that doesn't seem to have been grasped by England managers in recent years. Perhaps that's the reason as to why we have failed to achieve success. For far too long, reputation of players has gone ahead of new and exciting talent.
When instated as England manager, Fabio Capello ensured he would pick people based upon form, yet failed to deliver that bold statement in South Africa. And so, England crumbling at the hands of Germany remedied the need for change.
And so we enter a new era of English football—the introduction of youth into the set up as well as the new "home grown" rule will enable, we hope, the national team to thrive on the grand stage.
Being an England fan is hardly as straightforward as simple mathematics, being optimistic is shortly followed by disappointment. And so the vicious circle begins: so far, so good. England win their first two qualifying games for a tournament with two impressive performances against two potentially tricky opponents, no more so than travelling to a side that defeated the World Champions only a few months ago.
Yet even with the "change" of emphasis on bringing in the youth, it remains a concern as to when the wheels will fall off and as a nation we are left deflated once more.
At the end of the day, England are going through a transition phase as a footballing nation. There is no magic cure, nothing that will "change" over night. Nevertheless, one game at a time, one step a time can we consider ourselves as a nation who have the capabilities of performing and competing at the highest level.
The old saying rings true, "you can only beat what's in front of you". Due to seedings, it's highly unlikely to get the likes of Spain, Netherlands, Italy, and France in our group. At the same time, we've been here before with England strolling through qualifying group stage. There is perhaps a sense of deja vu with the World Cup qualifying campaign.
We can only hope—as only football fans can—that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
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