September 22, 2013
ROVERS’ supporters have had somethlng to cheer about over the past few weeks albeit not directly associated wlth the football club
Rickie Lambert has come into the England set up and done very well. The former Rovers striker looks as though he will feature strongly in England’s final qualifying games for Brazil and we now speculate that Richie might even find himself on the plane to the finals next summer; a fairy tale to be added to the vast amount of material that makes up the history of football worldwide.
Meanwhile we are picking up from the worldwide web, and other media channels, that new Football Association chairman Greg Dyke says the England team should aim to reach the semi final of Euro 2020 and win the World Cup in 2022. So what is Greg saying then exactly; before that time England cannot expect to do no more than just qualify, Sounds like it and he may be spot on but where is he coming from on this one? Is it past records, an honest appraisal of the current set up and players at England’s disposal at this time, or a long overdue opinion from the top that the English Premier League Is not doing the national team’s chances on the world stage a lot of good?
I have always thought that playing against, and alongside, the best players In the world should improve the quality of British nationals but there are now reasons to believe that whilst this may be so there are not enough home players given a chance in the Premier League to take the advantage. A quick search gave me startling figures compiled by the consultancy group Deloitte. One of the most significant trends to emerge from this summer’s transfer window is the Premier League’s reliance on foreign talent.
According to Deloitte, England’s top clubs spent a record £630 million in the window just closed but only £60m of that was on English players. Put another way, 90% of the money invested this summer was on foreign stars. Is this a statistic which reinforces the reported view held by England manager Roy Hodgson that he is working with a dwindling pool of top class players; you would have to think so. It begs the’question, are there more players with Rickie’s potential being held back because of the lack of opportunities for themin the highly coveted English Premier League?.
England did what they had to do against Moldova and the Ukraine and certainly our man played his part with distinction but before a ball was even kicked in these qualifying games FA chairman Dyke was set to deliver a key speech which was intended to look at longer term implications for the health of the national team beyond Brazil 2014. Having taken over the role In June, the former BBC director general and Manchester United director has, by all accounts, been taking views from people across the game on the FA’s most daunting challenge, how to make the England team a force In world football and to emulate the boys of ’66.
I read Richard Conway on BBC Sport to give me a summary of the Dyke speech, Richard described the speech as wide ranging but the underlying aim appears to be quite clear; Greg Dyke says the England team should aim to reach the semi final of Euro 2020 and win the World Cup in 2022. Seems like the present day Youth Academies are being expected to find and develop the players and that a current senior pro or developing young manager/coach is being expected to step up; interesting to see who that may be.
Dyke warned; “England may not be able to compete seriously on the world stage without changes in the domestic game. “English football is a tanker that needs turning,” he said and he will set up an FA commission to ask key questions on how England can change its long-term prospects.
The commission will ask why England is in this situation, what could be done and how any changes can be implemented. In a lengthy speech, Dyke laid out his vision to address what he called the ‘frightening trend’ of the reduction in the number of English players in the Premier League. Yet amid a backdrop of foreign influence in the top divlsion, with many believing it Is having an adverse effect on England teams, he stated; “The two targets I have for the England team are one, to at least reach the semi finals of Euro 2020 and two, win the World Cup in 2022.”
All very good Greg but two things strike me. Firstly a commission is all very fine but the players to deliver this are already in U-18 and U-16 Academy teams; the work required is on the training ground and in competitive football matches; now! Secondly where does Richard Scudamore and the Premier League feature in the grand plan and what support will they give Greg Dyke? The burning question is.i will our youth players get the chance to play in the Premier League, a chance that came to Rickie Lambert far too late?
Sad to say, I really do have my doubts.