It is time, time to stop covering up the reality of the way the game has been played at youth level here for years and therefore its consequential effect on the development of all players that have come through the system. Switzerland and England are very similar in the way they play football. Both the Swiss and the English players show a lot of similarities that in fact represent a forward moving mentality and therefore the type of playing attributes that underpin what has become known today as - The second ball game.
I have always been very concerned about how the game is presented in the media and about what some experts of the game say about the game of football. Ray Wilkins - in describing the efforts of the Swiss team against the Spanish team in the European U21 final - mentions tiredness as the reason for the Swiss team giving the ball away. Interestingly enough Mr Capello also used the same excuse of tiredness for the ball being given away by his senior squad (England) during their encounter at Wembley, also against Switzerland. Maybe some men prefer diplomacy to the truth.
The truth is, after all, very different to what both men claim as the reason for giving the ball away.
The Forward Moving Mentality
Run Rabbit Run Rabbit Run! Run! Run! It would be funny if it was not a serious matter. The Swiss were quite capable of running like the wind in the last ten minutes of this 'Under Twenty One European Cup Final in Denmark' and using the excuse of tired legs was way off the mark - The simple truth is that the coaching of young players in Britain and in Switzerland is obviously very similar. It should, therefore, rather more than obvious that when you apply training methods that condition the players to a forward moving mentality that this does create a consequential way of playing. Both Mr Wilkins and Mr Capello must surely know that the promotion of the forward moving mentality is responsible for the promotion of a running with the ball mentality and therefore a way of playing that panders to the second ball game reality and that giving the ball away is an integral part of the second ball game which has prevailed here since 1979.
Playing Against Spain
The playing mentality in Spain is now obviously totally different, it is in fact different in terms of the player selection process, in terms of the players development process and in terms of the way the players play football. Teams like Spain and Barcelona and now the Spanish U21 team, are in fact demonstrating the qualities and playing attributes of a first ball game that has gone missing on these shores since 1979. The first ball game is not new to England - The Leeds United team under Don Revie kept the ball as good as any team in Europe. Giving the ball away has become a way of playing here since 1979 in favour of what some in the game of football have described as 'The British Battling Game'.
Experts In The Field
If people like Mr Wilkins and Mr Capello blame tiredness for the demise of the Swiss and England team in terms of giving the ball away and they are effectively allowed to get away with such comments on television, then the game here is in serious trouble. It is not tiredness that is the problem, but the way the game is played on these shores, where battling attributes and therefore the big and strong player has dominated the game with the help of the refereeing fraternity that panders to the pressures of some influential managers that actually support the second ball game reality and its implications, that is the problem. The experts describing the game on television should be more than aware of the reality that coaches at youth level of the game hang on every word they say. It is important, therefore, to tell it like it is because if anyone believes that countries like Switzerland and England that support the second ball game are tired when they give the ball away, then it is countries like Spain who in fact now support the development of the first ball game, that will dominate the game for years to come.
If you would like more information please go to www.reedswain.com