The Blog

England's missing the coach

Photo: Mohamed Soudy

Football, our nations favorite game, the game our nation invented and the game that always leaves our nation frustrated.

Well, especially when it comes to the England team. While our domestic clubs such as Chelsea and Manchester United have enjoyed major successes in European competitions over the past decade, our national team has consistently been inconsistent since lifting the old Jules Rimmet trophy 43 years ago.

Many critics, pundits and professionals have argued, agreed, disagreed and blamed the crisis on many reasons. Some blame the influx of foreign players into our domestic leagues and some blame it on the lack of homegrown talent coming through as they try to pin point a solution to improving.

While these suggestions might have validity, the biggest problem being overlooked and hampering the development of English youth is the lack of coaches in the UK.

The number of coaches in this country is worryingly low in comparison to other nations that have been successful over the years while the lions keep on trying to find a solution to England's constant failure at International level.

A measly 203 coaches in the UK have the pro license coaching badge, which is the highest coaching badge have that can be attained. This number is considerably low compared to the 2,140 they have in Spain and the over 1,000 in Germany.

This figure paints a clear picture of the lack of depth in England's coaching department at the highest levels.

England also has a low number of coaches at Uefa 'A' level with an estimated

1,161 compared to the 12,720 that coach in Spain, while Germany has 5,500.

Coaching football at any level is not easy and is a job that requires time, dedication and money. For this reason many people involved in the game, especially at grassroots level, are parents and volunteers who do it for the love of the game.

"Any incentive, bursary to make it attractive to those people {voluntary coaches} will certainly help, but it does come down to funding because all these things eventually do" said QPR Football in the community chairman Andy Evans.

He also indicated that coaching in this country should be tried in another way to the current system instead of it just being a casual hobby or parents helping out when stating "the other way is to make sure coaching, especially youth coaching is a serious career choice".

Interview: QPR Football in the Community Trust Chairman Andy Evans.

The cost of becoming a qualified coach is also a concern, according to the FA's prices a level 1 costs £150. Level 2, £340, while to complete the Uefa A and B licenses costs over £1000 each.

These prices a surely a hindrance to young people wanting to pursue a career in coaching, and unlike many other college courses there are no concessions on the price for unemployed people or those less able to afford it.

Another stereotype damaging the flow of coaches at the top level of football is the old cliché of "if you have not played the game you cant coach it". Too often clubs prefer to employ Ex- footballers thinking it would guarantee success due to their reputation as a former player.

However, history has taught us this is not always the case and its not only ex-pro's that can build great teams and win cups.

Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez whose illustrious, trophy-laden cabinets and great knowledge are just as or more successful as many managers, even though they never played professional football.

Until we as a football nation get rid of old habits, boost the number of coaches at all levels and encourage all different social backgrounds to get involved and contribute, the fear is that this same old conversation will be floating about.

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