Book Review: The Way Forward: Solutions to England's Football Failings
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Matthew Whitehouse's The Way Forward: Solutions to England’s Football Failings offers an in depth look at the failings of English football, from grass root level, right the way to the top. And yes, it is comprehensively depressing. Perhaps more than any of us, Whitehouse is able to pass comment on the malfunctions of our football system; he's a UEFA 'A' licensed professional coach, so we have our standard pub talk converted into the practical, a textbook on what is wrong and what desperately needs to change. For years it has been well known that the English game is failing to produce the kind of talent that could reinstate us as a serious, modern footballing nation. To understand how its gone wrong Whitehouse looks at when, specifically the appointment of Allen Wade as technical director of the F.A in 1963. With the influence of such managers as Stan Cullis he steered a generation of coaches towards the kick and rush blueprint that would dictate the English perspective on how the game should be played for almost half a century. Consequently, only 38% of players considered good enough to play in the Premier League are English – and that includes a number of players that probably aren't. Whitehouse highlights how we have routinely sacrificed home grown players of genuine technical ability partly because we as baying fans like to see nationalistic stereotypes, namely grit, determination, blood, sweat and tears. Players like Glen Hoddle, John Barnes, Paul Scholes and even Michael Carrick have never really been afforded the time to influence the national team as their ability was squished amongst the crash bang wallop going on around them. We’re too busy lauding over turbo charged freight trains without brains and generally play the game as if we were re-enacting the first march over the Somme. And let’s not even go into the soul destroying insistence on our international teams using the redundant 4-4-2 troop formation.
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