Peter Young
25 April 2001
England Football Online
Contact Us Page Last Updated 25 April 2001
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Comment: The Self-Imposed Burden

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England's continuing failure to learn from past experience

England remained idle today as most of Europe's other national teams played World Cup qualification matches or preparatory friendly matches.  England's next match, against Mexico at Derby County's Pride Park on May 25, will be their fourth of the year.  In contrast, it will be Mexico's eighth of the year.  It would have been Mexico's 10th of the year, but two matches that had been scheduled fell through at the last minute because of logistical difficulties. 

This disparity once again underlines the lack of team preparation that continues to hinder England in international play.  The rest of the world recognizes that team performance hinges on team preparation and that friendly matches are crucial to that end. 

The Football Association continues to make concessions to the demands of the Premiership's club sides and gives short shrift to the national side's preparations.  The clubs, joined by most of the English football media and most of the fans committed to club sides, continue to deride friendly matches as "meaningless" exercises in a transparently false effort to justify submission to club interests.  

The upshot is that England continue to face well-prepared opposition at a self-imposed disadvantage.  They will probably have little trouble beating Mexico at home next month, but they would be much better prepared for their next World Cup qualification match in Greece on June 6 had they played today and given new coach Sven-Göran Eriksson, who has only three England matches under his belt, another opportunity to build and groom his team.  England's football community simply refuses to learn from past experience.