Wednesday September 26, 2018

Ex-England star Trevor Steven wants FA to focus on grassroots

Posted Sat 15 Jun 2013 02:58:33 pm in News, Sports | By News Desk

Dubai: Former Everton and England midfielder Trevor Steven does not see his country succeeding on the international stage unless the English Football Association is willing to rethink its grassroots policy.

“There’s no chance of England winning anything for the next few years, simply because they don’t have another generation of players who can play at the highest level,” Steven told Gulf News on the sidelines of the Middle East Sports Event Summit.

“Of course, there are top quality players such as Jack Wilshere or Paul Gascoigne before that. But these are one-off players. England has always had one-offs such as Gascoigne and Wilshere. But we have to remember that they have not been created by a system, but these are players who have had that extra ability to perform. They have come out of nowhere,” he said.

“Honestly, the FA need to be bold enough to re-think on why England is not succeeding on the international stage,” Steven added.

“The FA is aware of these lapses and the reasons, and perhaps that’s the reason they got St. George’s Park training facility now,” he added.

St George’s Park is the FA’s national football centre on a 330-acre site in Staffordshire that was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in October 2012. The purpose of the centre is to be the base for all coaching and development work undertaken by the FA, and the training and preparation from for all of the England national football teams.

“What England needs is a team full of individuals who can play as one unit. And to get to this stage, we need to encourage our kids when they are younger to be trained in the finer nuances of the sport,” he added.

“At the moment, it’s a completely different story though. One of the problems I find in coaching in England is that there is too much emphasis on drill. Drill is important but that can be overdone. I would rather opt to give every individual a ball and ask him to enjoy himself with the ball,” he noted.

Steven further pointed out that in a 90-minute match, a player can have the ball with him possibly for less than two minutes. “That is not going to make me a better player. What can a player who touches the ball for less than two minutes achieve in developing his skills?” Steven queried.

“In England, there are too many matches played and not too much time spent in practice,” he added. “This current generation of players is almost lost. The whole coaching from five or six year-olds needs to be structured again. The academies are taking in kids from seven year-olds over-drilling them and taking out their creativity. They are not encouraging enough individual play with the ball. If I was coaching I would let them all come in and play as it’s about control of the ball.”

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