Are the English still stuck in the past?

Are the English still stuck in the past and can Spurs lead the way forward?

Evolution is continual but not everyone likes to embrace it, history is littered with the refusal to accept something new, just look at the digital age we are in and you'll see great sections of people and businesses who have not embraced it.

A greater access to continental football have brought new system, new formations, new requirements for each player, new roles, none more so than the full-back who was a defender and is now basically a midfielder who defends.

Gone are the days of 'Chopper' Harris or Norman 'bite your legs' Hunter, now it's Hoddle's world, now it's one based on skill instead of aggression and that has opened the door for smaller players. As Ledley King points out little people can have skill too.

“Although Messi is a one-off in his ability, if he was born in England with the same ability he might not have been able to play the game in the same way.

“You need a balance. I played with a kid who was very talented, technically he was probably the best player in the youth team, but was really small and told he wasn’t going to make it because of his size.

“That mentality needs to change and we need to take players for their talent and try to develop them. Spain have proved that with their small players. It doesn’t matter how small you are, if you can keep the ball that’s the most powerful thing you can have on the football pitch.”

Because we traditionally have based the game on power and strength you were overlooked if you weren't tall enough. Remember when we signed Luka Modric the press were all saying he was too small, he wouldn't be able to cut it in the Premier League, it's too physical, he'll simply be pushed off the ball. I don't need to tell you how daft those people look now.

Young Tom Carroll is coming through our ranks and the same has been levelled at him. We tried to sign Bernard another diminutive player and the same questions were raised about him being too small.

But it's not just size though is it, the boot it clear mentality of defending is changing to one of pass it out of defence, again skill taking over from brute force. Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher were discussing David Luiz on Monday Night Football about stepping out of the defensive line to an attacker.

Carragher criticised David Luiz and the debate continued with Neville, who is probably the best 'expert analyser' on TV, making a very valid point. He questioned whether the way our central defenders defend is right? Is the way he and Carragher were taught (stay together) right because foreign centre-backs are taught differently, they are far happier to step out into a one verses one situation. As Neville says they are the ones winning all the trophies, Luiz has won much more than John Terry. Carragher was a staunch traditional no.

There are a lot of foreign coaches in the game now and foreign players trying to play football. In doing so mistakes will inevitable occur, when it works it's beautifully played out of defence, when it doesn't it's why did he do that? That in itself shows a fear mentality, don't do something for fear of getting it wrong, is that the English way? Is the foreign way, try it it might come off, fearless football?

As a foreign player growing up you learn to play every position, as an English youngster you don't you generally stick to yours, but which produces the better footballer?

As a foreign footballer growing up there is a greater emphasis on technical ability and developing a young player but traditionally over here it's been a fitness first and win first approach, almost as if player development was a secondary by-product. Obviously that's not the case it's simply a different way of developing youth but which is better, which produces the better player? Do foreign players develop quicker than ours?

For me I would like to see Spurs take a lead to address this problem. I'd like to see them develop links with foreign clubs to loan out our youngsters so they get European first team football at a young age. Why not send them to Holland or Portugal when they are 18 rather than the, what seems like, slow progress through our academy games. Foreign youngsters are ready before ours because they play competitive football regularly, ours train.

We have increased the loans we make to lower leagues and this seems to have multiplied in the last few years but would sending them abroad develop them even quicker? I believe it would as playing age football (Premier League Under 21 League) means they are not playing against older more experienced players. A bridge between the two needs to be found.

Would Christian Eriksen be the player he is at 21 with 37 international caps and Champions League football under his belt if he were English or if he had gone to Chelsea when he was 16? I don't think he would even have made the first team yet!

This very problem is one new Everton manager Roberto Martinez believes is holding England back. ”It is a sore subject. When you look around European football and you cannot do enough to develop young players.

“You come to the conclusion that the countries that develop the best young players are the ones who have a good games programme and the young players are allowed to play competitive football.

“That is something we are missing.

“Reserve football is very good for a young player for the first six months but after that I don’t think it has the stimulation that a young player needs to develop.

“The Premier League and FA are putting in a lot of effort trying to find the right solution but it is very difficult to find the perfect environment for these youngsters to develop because they are missing competitive football at a crucial time.

“Loan football then becomes a need. The experiences of the players are away from the usual environment, away from your football club, and they can become a little bit of a gamble.”

Unfortunately in England the clubs have to much power, they and the Premier League effectively run the game not the FA as it should be and whilst that remains our youth development will always lag behind when the ready made cheap foreign product can be bought.

Spurs have embraced a new structure with Franco Baldini in place alien to most clubs in Britain, it won't work in our football being the common cry. Won't it? I'm pretty happy with it so far.

Perhaps we can pioneer the use of an overseas loan development programme. By setting up links we would have access to finishing schools at it were, for which we could pay the club a fee.

An answer needs to be found and we are not afraid to embrace new things, we have a history of it, so perhaps Spurs can lead the way with developing talent at a faster rate in the UK as well.



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