Behind the rest
This aspect brings us to the English coaching culture of football. Both Harry Redknapp and now Tim Sherwood both appear to dismiss ‘tactics’ in their management style, focusing more on the players and their freedom to create and attack. Redknapp was unfortunate to lose his job when he came 4th and had proven that his style of play was entertaining as well as successful.
The lack of English managers in the top levels of the game highlights the worrying admission that English coaching is not good enough. While our league is one of the worlds best it is dominated by foreign coaches. An Englishman has never won the Premier League, this is incredible.
Foreign coaches and the influx of foreign players have opened many eyes to methods and approaches which occur outside of England and the British Isles. The English game this past decade has been transformed into a more European based style yet with the English culture working (or fighting) alongside. Mourinho, Benitez, Wenger, Ancelotti and Quieroz have all brought new ideas across and being successful.
The rise of Spain pointed towards the need for technical excellence and tactical intelligence which required a coach who could work these two elements to make a cohesive and successful side. The future game will require intelligent players who need intelligent coaches, those who understand tactics yet who are also master psychologists and communicators, as well as being able to speak several languages in an ever growing multi-national game.
The truth is that top players and teams require key tactical instructions and those teams who succeed in the modern game are those who understand their roles in and out of possession. “Go and out enjoy yourselves” may allow certain players to play with freedom and expression yet it often leaves a team exposed and lacking in tactical understanding.
Redknapp brought out the best from his wide players who were given more licence to attack yet against the better sides his team was often exposed defensively because of this. Sherwood is gaining points right now, yet in a game where analysis of opposition is critical opposition coaches will be finding ways to expose a side which looks extremely vulnerable.
Perhaps Sherwood will adapt and show some nous or perhaps he will throw more caution to the wind and seek to attack more, using the Keegan-esque style of management of “we’ll score more than you”. Unfortunately that approach never helped Keegan to win the title, in fact it damaged his chances of it.
After the success of Guardiola at Barca clubs are looking to find their own version and in Sherwod you can see the similarities. Both were midfielders who wee successful, both were leaders and both embarked on coaching youth players after their retirement. And like Guardiola did Sherwood has taken a side of disillusioned players and turned them into one of England’s most inform sides.
Yet if Levy expects Sherwood to create what Guardiola did then that may be a little too optimistic. Although they share similar experiences they are two very different coaches. Guardiola is one of the most of intelligent, detailed and tactically astute coach in the game. His success proves his methods work. Sherwood is more of the Redknapp cavalier way yet the game is more technical and tactical than ever before and cavalier attitudes will be punished not rewarded over the long term.
This blog hopes more English coaches get the chance to manage top sides yet they must adapt to the needs of the modern game and learn what is required if they genuinely want to succeed. It is difficult to imagine an English coach winning the Premier League in the coming years, this problem should highlight the key issue which is holding English football back, while we look at the quality of our players it is in fact a lack of world class quality coaching which stopping us develop world class players and managers. Attitudes and culture needs to change.
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