Can England Really Win The World Cup In Qatar 2022?
By Harrison Mead
Yesterday chairman of the FA Greg Dyke laid out his plans leading to the ultimate goal of producing an England team that is capable of winning the World Cup in Qatar in 2022. Whilst he said that he wants to integrate youth players into the first team more to help player development as well as wanting to work 'hand in hand' with the Premier League to address national team concerns, there still remain other issues that need to be solved before England can even stand a chance at challenging for World Cup glory.
First of all is the fact that Premier League clubs at the moment hold more power than the FA when deciding player availability for the National Team. The club comes first because they are the people that pay your wage, and the people for whom you are employed so a lot of pressure is placed upon players to withdraw from the National team when hit with injuries or niggles, for example Wayne Rooney, Phil Jones and Glen Johnson for England's upcoming internationals against Moldova and Ukraine.
Secondly in terms of youth, Mr Dyke said yesterday that English U-21's only made up 2.28% of all the total minutes played in the 2012-13 season, I feel that this situation will only deteriorate, the recent domestic and overseas TV rights mean that clubs in Premier League will start to benefit from the new £5.5 billion pound deal. This means that clubs now have the ability to purchase ready-made players instead of playing and developing their youth players. For example even Arsene Wenger, Arsenal's shrewd penny pushing manager has been caught up in the fray spending £42 million on Mesut Ozil. Meaning more and more youth players are forced to try and find football out on loan elsewhere not given them the chance to develop and improve.
Thirdly it is the lack of an incentive for youth to be developed at a grass roots level. The introduction of the EPPP (Elite Player Performance Plan) last year was put in place to increase both the quality and quantity of home-grown players achieving professional contracts at clubs and playing first team football as well as attempting to improve both the coaching and value for money of players. However this has a catch, it has mean't that clubs could in fact receive lower fee's for players under the age of 17 but it also allows for free movement of players between Category One clubs (Category One clubs are those that have invested the most in infrastructure, such as Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United). This free movement means that bigger Category One clubs have the ability to cherry pick the best players from the smaller clubs meaning the smaller clubs lose their best youngsters and have them sit on the bench or in the reserves in a bigger side.
Whilst the World Cup in 2022 is far away these things need to change to allow England to challenge the likes of Brazil, Germany and Spain on a more consistent level. It will also be interesting to see how much Greg Dyke influences and sets in place his ideas, he talks a good talk but the answers will be evident in the next few years.