• Do You Have A System? Mine's 3-5-2

    England's start at Euro 2012 was impressive. A fantastic 1-1 result against France is better than expected and the quietly confident approach sets the right tone at this stage. It's a sensible option to set up two banks of four and have the odd shot at goal when playing against a fancied team like France, but tonight brings a different pressure - England need to win. The team needs to show the doubters (myself included) that we can tear up the script of Monday against France, improvise on this stage tonight and attack with conviction.

    If we are ever to stop ourselves going nuts in May, June and July every couple of years when these major football tournaments come around, though, then my 3-5-2 formation (see my Manifesto) needs further consideration. In particular, Futsal has not been given a bespoke and dedicated platform at St George's Park (the FA's strategic coaching centre opening in Staffordshire later this year). If you look at the St George's Pk website pics you can see Badminton set up on the indoor football court and my fear is that local community partnerships will see a greater uptake of existing sports like badminton rather than really pushing Futsal at this time. Where are the FA's Futsal coaching courses..?

    If we are ever to catch up on the international stage, school kids at Key Stage 1 & 2 - and in particular lower age primary school kids - need to really understand how to manipulate the ball and Futsal offers the best platform to do this. Everyone could see in the France game that their players could receive the ball in tight areas and keep possession - choosing the right moment to try and beat their opponent to score a goal.

    Remember the two things about football?

    1 - to play, try and beat your opponent and score a goal

    2 - to win, concede fewer than you score.

    In that context, can we really say that England tried to play against France or was that the dreaded anti-football? Last Saturday, I emailed talkSPORT to ask Alvin Martin about England's perceived lack of technical ability. Alvin, like others closer to the players, repeated the line that our players are as good technically as other top players and there must be another factor at play. Well, if that's the case then it is either that Roy Hodgson has not yet found a way to get a sweet tune out of his band or the band prefer the supergroup status of their club sides. However you look at the France game, we must conclude that our players are not as technically proficient.

    Private firms like @Futsal UK, Club Futsal UK and Futsal FM are doing their best to evangelise about how this great indoor football game offers significantly more technical development than, say, the new youth initiatives that were signed off by TheFA. Futsal is the way forward - you heard it here first.

    One other problem is the disconnect with the Premier League. The new £3Bn TV deal is a staggering 70% increase on the last deal. Richard Scudamore should be a key note speaker at the next Davos meeting! One of the strengths that got Hodgson the England job is his established international and tournament experience. Tonight against Sweden - a place he knows well and has never lost against as an international manager - takes him towards his 100th international game, which includes tournament experience. As the money goes up & up, so do players' wages. In contrast, clubs' willingness to release their players for international football will head in the other direction, no doubt.

    The answer? We must petition The Premier League to take joint accountability for the national side. Tonight , we need to attack like a beserker - COME ON, ENGLAND!


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