When Jack Wilshere said “only English people should play for England”, what did he mean, and was he right?
Alan shearer apparently said that you have to be born in England to play for England, and a huge debate about who qualifies to play for England began! I wasn’t born in England, and came to England when I was 12, so some people may say I shouldn’t play for England as I wasn’t born here, but then that would also rule out terry butcher, who was born in Singapore, Owen Hargreaves, and countless other “real” Englishman who are “obviously” English! (terry butcher) so that doesn’t make sense to me! I assume Jack Wilshere was responding to the question whether adman janusci? Should be allowed to play for England,which got that answer……..I agree with him on that point!
I, like many others came to England to live, not as a superstar footballer from another country who has been brought in “specifically” at a cost to play football from another club abroad! My talents were developed here, then after a period of time, was given an opportunity to be a professional footballer. I therefore became “English” before I became a footballer, and may well have remained in England to be something else, had I not become a professional player, as countless other non English born footballers!
So for the idea of superstar footballers, (fabregas,denilson,continho,janussai?) and so many young foreign players being able to play for England, after a period of time, is ludicrous!
I’m sure jack is not talking (as I am not) about white Anglo Saxon English men, being the only ones who are not English, (as I am sure Alan shearer isn’t as well), you can have black, Indian, Chinese, Iraqi born young people who are, and have every right to play for England! It’s about an identity, social, and emotional commonality, that English people share regardless of where your born.
Kevin Pieterson got embroiled in the discussion over wether himself Strauss, trott and others should in jacks opinion play for England,and rugby players, and even mo farrah were mentioned!
You cannot equate,or even compare football to other sports in that respect,because if you look at the statistic of only 31% of footballers being English,there is a huge under representation of local players being given opportunities at the highest level,which is a problem……..even in the championship, there is apparently 50% foreign players! Which is at least as alarming!!!
If in cricket, rugby, and athletics those statistics were similar, that would have to be addressed also. KP, some rugby players, mo farrah, are not stopping the development, or the opportunity for English players at county, or international level, so the comparison is invalid.
Harry redknapp’s book,also came under scrutinity,for his comments about the FA. His questioning the eligibility of the members of the FA to chose a good England manager, bears some thought. While he got criticised for saying “what do they know about choosing a good England manager,”then saying that he thinks Roy Hodgsn is a “good England manager”, by definition means that……..they “did” choose a good England manager, I don’t think that’s what he meant. I’m sure that what he meant was, regardless of wether they chose a good England manager or not…….(I would choose KP to play for England without knowing much about cricket)…….what gives them (the specific people,not the representative body,who have every right), the expertise to make such decisions,so I empathise with Harry!
The biggest shock for me was not Jack Wilshere, or Alan shearer, or the fallout from the debate, but it was Greg dyke, and the F A’s stance, in exploring the possibility of janusci? Playing for England!!!!
One the one hand, the FA are complaining that the reason why the England team isn’t as strong, is because there are too many foreign players in the premier league, (especially) at the top clubs, which stifles the development, and opportunities for the young English players, which greatly reduces to talent pool the the England manager has to choose from………..then are looking to explore the possibility of “naturalising” young foreign players to make them be “English” in a few years!!! This is a trying to be all things to all men,and hugely contradictary!!
The FA has a responsibility, not only to the England team, the professional teams, and the non league teams, their biggest responsibility, in my opinion, is to grass roots football!!
By examining this option, they are effectively saying to hundreds of thousands of young “English” kids (who ever they may be) playing in parks up and down the country, that try as hard as you can, but when the big premier league clubs buy these “superstar” kids from all over the world, we will try and get them to become “English” to play for the national teams, which will only encourage the premier league teams to spend more money bringing foreign kids in to the country!! How will that empower and encourage our children?
Young footballers between the ages of 8 and 12 all over the world, are the same. they have potential…..and the way they are coached, and educated (from a football perspective) separates them when the get to between 14 and 16.
If we believe that the foreign kids are better than our kids at that age, it’s because of the superior coaching that they have received over the last 2 years of their development!
If that is the case, the answer isn’t to bring in the foreign kids at that age, it is to bring in those foreign coaches (if we beleive them to be superior) and have them coach our local kids!!! The FA say they are looking at how other nations do things….I can tell them…..the try to maintain their social, cultural and footballing “identity” regardless of what other people are doing….the “Catalans” the “basques” and other big footballing nations, (of which we profess to be) and they have a responsibility to their community, to represent them and what they stand for as best they can, even at the expense of not having the “best” foreign players, because that was what football was all about all those years ago! Although football has changed admittedly, you can strike a correct balance between being successful, and empowering your community, and retaining “some” of your identity.
The FA commission has been set up to come up with ideas for “the way forward” for English football! And sol Campbell was disappointed that there were no black faces on the committee.
I was asked what I thought, and I said the most important thing was to have intelligent, competent people on the panel, no matter what their colour. just to have a “black” face on there, to tick a certain box of inclusiveness, or representation, achieves nothing! The important thing is to have people who can add value and intelligence to the debate, but the worrying thing, which is in all walks of society, not just football administration, is that black faces, aren’t even being considered as worthy to engage in any meaningful discussions on any remotely important issues!
I also worry about to impact the commission can have in effecting change, as we all know what the problem is!!
This reminds me of FIFA awarding Qatar the World Cup (of which I have absolutely no problem with, the World Cup belongs to the world, so any country with the ability to host it, deserves the honour of doing so)…….. When people were questioning the heat in the summer for at least a year before the bid, and assumed FIFA had obviously taken that into account in their due diligence before making a decision!
To then, months after granting them the World Cup, to say, “we think its too hot to have the World Cup in the summer in Qatar” smacks of total incompetence at best!
We know what the recommendations from the committee is going to, (or should) be, but are they going to be implemented by the premier league, or more importantly by the clubs….we already know the answer to that…….does the commission have the “power” to effect the necessary changes…..no…….so what is the point!
After 2002, Germany recognised the need for change, so the national association went to the clubs, and asked for their cooperation in improving the national team, by putting young German players in their teams (possibly before they were ready, or at the expense of better foreign players) the clubs agreed, under a few conditions……one of which was that barren Munich did! That was because if all the others did, but Bayern didn’t, then barren would pull further away from them! To their credit, Bayern did…..and maybe they had a few lean years, but you can see the benefit of that decision, in terms of not only the national side, but also the club teams!!
They deserve great credit, because after they got to the 2002 World Cup final, the could have been forgiven for thinking all was rosy with the national team……but if you remember…..they beat South Korea in the quarter final, and turkey in the semi final, before being easily beaten by brazil in the final, so even after a “successful” campaign, recognised the need for change!
Can we see the FA approaching the top premier league clubs with a similar proposal, and getting any change!! If you look at what has happened to Scotland, and the Republic of Ireland, when their top players stopped playing for the arsenals, Liverpools, Manchester United’s of this world, getting experience at the very highest level (which is what you need to improve)….. The national teams suffered, and now can’t compete against the very best! Why won’t that happen to England, if our future England players, are not going to be playing for the top teams in the premier league regularly? Because “we are England “?
We greatly contradict ourselves as “Englishmen”………on the one hand, we remember the empire, and how great we once were as a nation, (in terms of ruling the world)……and on the other hand have a “huge” inferiority complex, in assuming that Europeans, are more able than us, to play, and manage our teams! The black perspective, is too all encompassing to even debate here, I will be talking about that at great length in the coming days), but lets talk about even the white English perspective! How many English managers and players are there, why do we assume that because Europeans speak more than 1 language, are more intelligent than us (you)
When Eric Cantona takes about “trawlers and seagulls” he became a philosopher, had it been Paul Merson, he would have been an idiot!
Italians have style, (dressed head to toe in Gucci plastered every where on an italian is style,on a cockney is chavy) Frenchmen are sexy (well ginola is,I’ll give you that) are all stereotypes that we have become used to, and accept.
They are not real !!! The longer we accept them,the more we undermine our own abilities,which aren’t based on where we are from,or what we look like! In footballing terms,the stereotype ” Scotsmen make good managers” or ” because you were a good player,doesn’t necessarily make you a good manager ” makes no sense to me. (bad players don’t make good managers either,necessarily,but no one says that)
There are a lot of bad Scottish managers in Scotland up and down the Scottish leagues, and a lot of great players who made great managers. Good managers make good managers (I know very simplisti ) but your nationality, or your playing ability has absolutely nothing to do do with your managerial capabilities.
While records may show those stereotypes to be true, you also have to look at the reasons/excuses why that is the case! Fans, players,media, the whole football fraternity, are human beings, so therefore, they ( we ) respond to stereotypes……so when a Scottish manager speaks, do we subconciously give him more respect, or have more belief in what he says, because of his accent, or because of the content of what he says ?……..I’ll give you an example……stan collymore (who is very intelligent ) was talking about the situation at wolves, when they were looking for a new manager, and mentioned Alex Rae for the job ( who I am sure would be as good as anybody else )……. He said that with his rough Scottish accent, yhe could already see the players responding to him, and having belief in him! Alex rae may be an idiot ( I am sure he isn’t ) but because of that perception, he would be given more of an opportunity ,and more time, than other managers! I am rambling on too much about topics I will explore in much more depth in the future, so I will leave it there for you all to consider the original debate……who is English, and who do we think should be allowed to play for England?