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The 'Traditional Game' Is Holding England Back

The 'Traditional Game' Is Holding England Back

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.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Tuesday March 2 2010
Time: 3:40PM


don't agree end of.
02/03/2010 15:55:00
Don't suppose you want to qualify that statement? Where's Englands success then? What else should we blame it on? Not the manager this time, he's utterly world class.
02/03/2010 16:02:00
Fantastic piece Rocky - no doubt it'll bring out the knuckle dragging nationalists blind to the problems endemic in our national league and game. Great to see you and Amos put the disparte forum threads in to something substantial and well worth debate.

The sooner we get parity with the other top leagues around Europe, the better it'll be for the league, and for the national team. The EPL would then go from being the most popular, to the most popular AND the best quality.
02/03/2010 16:05:00
Don't agree end of??? That's why one day you'll have Baddiel and Skinner old and grey singing about SIXTY years of hurt! England won't win a thing until they start teaching youngsters how to play the game technically! Even a world class manager like Capello won't pull it off this year.
02/03/2010 16:14:00
See how we do with an Italian manager...
02/03/2010 16:14:00
Julie - interesting reply on Vital Liverpool. There are people over there after all. "julieloveshenry4ever, In Rafa's first season we had three players breaking their legs, Gerrard, Alonso, and Cisse. That's three players in one season, not four. We also had two players breaking their legs in one game against Blackburn a few years ago. It happens sometimes. "
02/03/2010 16:17:00
The culture of English football is changing but we still have this hangover of feeling that the old ways are best. There is a passion in the English game that isn't always there in Spain and is definitely missing from much of Serie A but there must be a point where the line can be drawn that keeps the best of the pace and excitement of English football while removing the clogging. Did Coppell's Reading or Mowbray's WBA team do any worse than the yo-yo teams that clogged there way in and out of the PL? It can be done playing good football. It's only fear that keeps the cloggers stuck to their limited beliefs.
02/03/2010 16:19:00
I think you'll find the Alonso and Gerrard injuries were metatarsals not broken legs. We've had 5 of those over the last few years ourselves.
02/03/2010 16:28:00
The best thing Arsenal can do to relay this message is to win the bloody league! (Also point to Barca, they play some nice stuff with moderate success I guess.................)
Little Dutch
02/03/2010 16:43:00
I have to challenge this UNQUALIFIED notion that the Spanish, Italian, German leagues are somehow less exciting and that the English league is far more exciting than they are. I've watched all these leagues for years. The belief that the English league is uniformly better to watch simply isn't true. Yes, a few teams can be quite exciting to watch because they combine the speed/physicality of the English game with top class technical skill. But there are an awful lot of really poor teams in the PL - Blackburn, Hull, Bolton, Stoke, etc. -- that just don't deliver good quality football (well, not for me anyway). There were a couple of rounds last season in which teams in the bottom half of the table in the PL didn't even score a goal. I'd rather watch midtable and even some lower table teams in Germany, France (yes, France), Italy and Spain than a lot of the teams in the PL. English teams outside the top 4 in England do poorly in the UEFA cup. Give me a choice between Stoke-Hull and Hoffenheim-Bremen or Espanyol-Bilbao, I'll take the latter two every time. Mind you, I don't think only the top 4 are worth watching -- I'm just saying that there's a lot more dross in the PL than many realize.
02/03/2010 17:03:00
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