Date:Friday February 9 2007
When Sven McClaren gained victory in his first game in charge of England, many England fans thought that the change in manager was the change for better.
However 6 months down the line and it's same old same old from the England set up, but according to Boro chairmen, Steve Gibson, the manager is not to blame....oh no, it's Arsenal and Liverpool.
'There's many, many other reasons why the English football team isn't working. It hasn't worked successfully since 1966.' said Gibson.
'The Liverpools and the Arsenals, what do they contribute at national level? If we're going to improve our game at the national level, we need to involve the clubs - the clubs have got to have a willingness.'
'We've got to start looking at not just the head coach, but at the whole structure.'
'We do have an enormously successful Premiership. It is exciting, it's great to watch, it's great to be involved in.'
'But I see this march we've had over the past five or 10 years of clubs appointing foreign coaches, foreign assistants.'
'What chances are English footballers getting at our major clubs?'
Now I'm not here to defend Liverpool, that's their business but what I must take issue with is Gibson's comments about the Gunners.
Much has been made about the lack of English first teamers in the Arsenal line up, whilst everyone convienently forgets to look behind the scenes.
What you need to remember is that if a player plays, or receives his football education at Arsenal, then by and large the club has contributed to the national side.
Lets look at the first team. Over the past 12 months Arsenal have had 3 players in the England squad, Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole and Theo Walcott. Two of those players are not at Arsenal anymore, but learning their skills at our club has contributed to the national side.
Looking back over 5 years say, we've have David Seaman, Tony Adams, Lee Dixon, Ray Parlour amongst others in the team......how many have Boro given in that time.
Some may argue that we aren't doing anything for the current national set up at the minute, and with the exception of Ashley Cole, they'd be right (sort of).
But as Arsene Wenger has proved over the last ten years, football is not about 'the now' but there is a bigger picture, a future, and if you're going to slag off a club for a lack of contribution to the national game, you may want to cast an eye in the general direction of the rest of the teams.
In the under 16's we have Thomas Cruise, Sanchez Watt & Jack Wilshire, in the under 17's there is Moses Barnett, Rhys Murphy & Henri Lansbury, in the under 19's we have Fabrice Muamba & Kerrea Gilbert, and in the under 21's we now have Theo Walcott, Justin Hoyte and former Gunner David Bentley.
I just wonder how many clubs can boast having contributed 12 players to the England set up at any one time?
I know that a few people would prefer it if Arsenal had more English players in the first team (personally I couldn't care less) but to single out Arsenal for their lack of contribution is quite frankly disgusting, and Gibson owes Mr Wenger a huge apology.
Date:Friday February 9 2007
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