England lost to Iceland in Euro 2016 today, suffering a historic football defeat, and sending the UK press into an orgiastic literary tailspin of epic proportions. Which is odd. Talent-wise, England should have killed Iceland. You see, England can match player-for-player, with anybody. The English players have amazing levels of talent, all of them.
What seems to lack on the English side is chemistry. Which is the Achilles heel of every team created via an all-star player approach. You have the best players, but the odds are, you will not have the best team.
I’m wondering if English (and American) football wouldn’t do better in international tournaments if, instead of simply fielding the 11 best players in the country, they took players who have played together, three defensive players from the same team, for example. I know this strategy doesn’t work perfectly, because of the prevalence of foreign players in the EPL, but Italy seems to have used the strategy to perfection with their lineup of Juventus players.
I think, and I could be wrong – a team is better off in international competition with , for example, one star player and the 2-3 guys on either side of him who he has played with all year, as opposed to 3-4 all-star players who do not complete passes because they do not communicate, AND a few of which are trying to learn to play in supportive roles, which they are not used to.
I think a strategy of putting a team together would work, but would take some creativity to figure out which and how players from each EPL team get added to the national squad. Putting aside the foreign player issue for a second, the possibilities are exciting and endless.
A national team taking the field with a front 3 from Manchester United, a middle 3 from Chelsea, and the back 3 guys from Arsenal … would be much more cohesive than the best 11 guys from England, IMO. I could be totally wrong, but the league is so strong, it seems like a waste not to use this talent in this way.
Thanks for reading