Our players need to play abroad. Spanish players do, German players do but why don’t England’s?
All of the current squad play in England and although the money here is better, going abroad would help develop their game technically and vary the options available to the manager.
In order for England to compete with the best international teams in the world, they need an extra dimension and a different type of player to what we have now.
It is a well known fact that the Premier League is the most physical of the big leagues in the world and this has taken the concentration away from the technique needed to play at the highest level.
The current style of today’s players is too similar and they rarely offer anything different, which can create a bland playing approach, especially against the top teams.
With certain exceptions such as Jack Wilshere, who plays with Spanish flair, English players are too adapted to their own league and it is visible at international level.
Playing abroad works for other countries so why shouldn’t it for us? Both Germany and Spain have players in the Bundesliga, Premier League and La Liga and their team’s combine to play some of the best football on the international front. This helps plays hone skills developed in their own country whilst using other aspects of their games developed abroad.
Owen Hargreaves’ rise at Bayern Munich evidently made an impact in his short time with the national team and this shows how our players should be playing for Europe’s top clubs and not just England’s.
Joey Barton is currently doing so with Marseille, although at 30, this maybe too little too late for his international career.Michael Mancienne saw the opportunity to play abroad with Hamburg and he thought it may help his international career, which so far hasn’t worked. But he has been touted for a call up on numerous occasions this season after nailing a place in the Bundesliga sides’ starting eleven.
Had he not been currently out with injury since January, he may have solved England’s recent central defensive dilemma.
“I have improved here as a player and also a person. The technical game has suited me and I am happy here.” The defender told The Express late last year.
Another English player we have developing abroad is Eric Dier, at Sporting Lisbon. A current under-19 England international, he can play both central midfield and defence and his current coach has described him as ‘the next Beckenbauer’.
An important part of his development was a loan at Everton, playing with the academy set up before returning to Portugal, where he grew up after moving from England with his parents.His development in the academy is different to what it would have been in England, with more focus on his technical development, which is something similar to what the FA are currently adapting youth football to.
“We played a lot of five-a-side and seven-a-side” He said, in a recent interview with The Daily Mail. “You played in all different positions and everyone learned to attack. Results didn't matter until a much older age.”
Other young English players learning their trade abroad include Jack Harper who is a 17 year old at Real Madrid, Alban Bunjaku, formerly of Arsenal. Elliot Kebbie, who was poached by Barcelona from Leeds United’s academy, is now at Athletico Madrid and Dale Jennings is learning his trade in Germany after catching Bayern Munich’s eye following his break through at Tranmere Rovers.
Whilst it is great to have youngsters at Europe’s top clubs, current England internationals should follow suit if they want to develop their experience, as well as skills, to benefit their country and help bring the World Cup to its rightful home.