Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer has launched some stinging criticism about England’s national team. He claims that the national team is suffering because of the amount of foreign players that ply their trade in the Premiership.
Der Kaiser has said: “What I saw of the English against the US had very little to do with football. It looked to me as if the English have gone backwards into the bad old days of kick and rush.”
He added: “I am not sure if the England coach Fabio Capello can still change much there. The English are being punished for the fact that there are very few English players in the Premier League as clubs use better foreign players from all over the world.”
Granted England’s tactics in the game against America weren’t the most exciting but the way the USA lined-up made it difficult for England to break them down and they clearly came to frustrate England and play for a point which worked. However Beckenbauer is forgetting that the Americans have greatly improved in recent years. Whilst a point against them is disappointing it is a decent result and the former German captain hasn’t given them enough credit.
Capello has also never been about playing attractive football throughout his whole career as a manager and instead focuses on getting results and that is what matters. Although Germany turned on the style against Australia in their game it will count for nothing unless they pick up other results. Attractive football is nice to watch without a doubt but the results must come first.
Beckenbauer does have a point that there are a lot of foreign players now playing in the Premier League. However whether or not they are being detrimental to England’s success is difficult to answer. On the one hand the more foreign players there are, the less chance there is of English players coming through certain clubs and breaking into the first team. But at the same time our English players can learn from the foreigners and as a result might even become better players because they are playing and training with them week-in, week-out.
Also just because an English player finds it more difficult now to get into a team it doesn’t mean that they can’t still become a good player. In fact one could argue that leaving a big club to join a smaller one in order to prove yourself can make you a better player. Take Ryan Shawcross for instance, Manchester United let him join Stoke in 2008 and since then has established himself as one of the Premiership’s best defenders. He was called up to the England squad for their friendly against Egypt prior to the World Cup and although he didn’t make the final squad has become tipped as a star for the future. Still only 22-years-old he is now being linked with a move to Tottenham and even still has more time to grow as a player and improve his game.
Franz Beckenbauer’s words do have some validity but English players are not suffering as badly as he claims. Whilst it would be nice to see a few more English players playing for the big clubs, the foreigners are what help make the Premier League so great in the first place and this shouldn’t be forgotten.
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