England soccer team suffering identity crisis: Ferdinand
AFPLONDON -- Former England defender Rio Ferdinand claims that the current national side have lost their identity and has called for an overhaul of the national coaching strategy.
August 14, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
The Manchester United centre-back, 34, played at three World Cups but never went beyond the quarterfinals, and he believes the reason England are continually eclipsed by teams like Spain and Italy is because they have no coherent playing style.
“What is our identity?” said Ferdinand, who retired from international soccer in May.
“I've said that on Twitter I don't know how many times and people come back and say, 'What are you talking about?' But what is our identity?
“We started to see something when Glenn Hoddle was in charge (1996-1999), a bit of an identity then, free-flowing soccer, and you would say we were starting to get an idea of the pattern of what he wanted to implement in the team.
“Since then I don't think we've actually really seen an identity, where you could say, 'That's an England team,' where you look at the under-21s and go, 'That's an England team.'” He added: “You could put an under-16 lad into the senior Spanish team or Italian team. He might not have the attributes in terms of physique and speed to be able to deal with it but positionally I'm sure he'd know what to do because that's what they're taught, day in, day out.
England won the World Cup on home soil in 1966 but since then they have reached the semifinals of a major tournament on just two occasions — at the 1990 World Cup and the 1996 European Championship.
Ahead of the friendly with Scotland on Wednesday, Ferdinand says England must be prepared to sacrifice short-term success in favour of a more long-term approach.
England assistant coach Gary Neville has echoed his former United team-mate's concerns, calling for the introduction of a quota system to safeguard the progress of home-grown players at Premier League clubs.