Date:Tuesday March 2 2010
Following on from Amos's article regarding the disparity of number of yellow and red cards between the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga and Italian Serie A, I'd like to expand even further.
With the World Cup just around the corner hopes are high (as per usual) for the English national team, many people believing that this 'could be our year'. Of course, the over hype will most likely end in tears as the primadonnas in the three lions fail to perform ... yet again, and photo-shopped pictures of Fabio Cappello will appear in the sports pages of the red tops with has face crudely imposed on to a banana or other such piece of fruit or veg.
The manager of the team is always the easiest of targets (of course we couldn't blame John Terry or Stevie Me for poor performances now could we?), but the real problem is actually much more deep rooted than that. A problem so severe that it is going require a complete and utter overhaul of ways of thinking and doing things to eradicate it.
When the white pieces inside Aaron Ramsey's leg split in two on Saturday evening, it should have ushered in a new age of looking to remove recklessness from football, and not, as we have seen instead, form an army of Shawcross apologists. Because burying your head in the sand and putting this injury down to 'luck' or lack of it, is a very dangerous path to go down.
One of the big problems in this country is that referees all too often allow over physical football as a way to bridge the gap between your Arsenals, Man Utds, Liverpools and your Stokes, Boltons and Blackburns. In the last few days a disturbing amount of people have made comments and published articles talking about how to remove the physical side of the game from English football, would be to remove it's identity.
When that identity is akin to that of Charles Bronson, maybe it's time it was removed?
Many fans of 'English Grit' say they love a tackle and don't want to see out game end up like the Spanish or Italian game. However the Italians have always been masters of the tackle. Defence is a way of life, and because they're taught to do it responsibly via the strict discipline of the referees, they're bloody good at it.
Moreover, what has the 'traditional English game' really given us? One world cup in over 80 years, 0 European Championships in 50 years?
The English Premier League is the most watched league in the world ... is this down the physical football? Or is it down to the influx of technical players over the last 15 to 20 years?
The truth of it is, English football and it's traditions are so far behind the times it's prehistoric. Instead of young players being tossed footballs at a young age, they're taught to run laps, improve physical strength and to 'get stuck in'.
People might think that the French, Spanish and Italian leagues are 'softer', but in the bigger picture, they produce results.
The sooner the powers that be make the link between technical football and the results it produces and rid our game of the cancer that is 'true English grit' and concentrate on the technical side of the game, the better it will be for not only the health of our players, but for the trophy cabinet too.
Date:Tuesday March 2 2010
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