Brits don’t travel well

Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur

I am probably a little sad, but my mind is often occupied with the differences & similarities between La Liga and the Premier League.

As I sat in both the Bernabeu and Camp Nou last week (yes I am a git) the differences between our leagues, stadiums and cultures was playing on my mind. I have to admit, I wish I was a Barca fan – the standard of football is something else. Total football at its modern day best.

Then the thought crossed my mind that I have watched arguably the two best teams in the world in the space of two days, but there were no English players involved with either team.

Which brings me to the questions: why do English or British players export so badly? And: Why aren’t the best foreign teams in the world pursuing British talent?

I thought about what the reasons could be. Is it the footballers themselves or could it be down to cultural differences. Whilst I was in Spain I noticed something – the Spanish peoples’ general disdain for the English.

Now for me, the atmosphere around the Real Madrid vs. Spurs game was quality. Thousands of Spurs fans drinking in ‘Plaza Mayor’, an area that attracts tourists from all corners of the globe, a lot of singing, cerveza’s, and sunburn … all good fun. But there were also plenty of young lairy fans, smashed out of their faces, hanging off/climbing the various statutes around the square, some on the ground passed out from excess booze, and a lot of mess everywhere – no wonder the locals had a look like a slapped arse on their faces.

Perhaps British players just don’t travel that well. The general public, including myself, are bad at other languages. I can’t imagine footballers would have had any interest in learning other languages at school; who needs to learn another language, English players don’t play abroad!

It is not just language we Brits seem to struggle with, there are a lot of cultural differences when it comes to the dieting and conditioning of our bodies. We all know that the European style of player conditioning is far superior; players like Di Canio and Zola came over in previous years and started to change the culture at British clubs. English players and managers learnt a lot from how the Europeans trained and took care of themselves. But surely now in the modern day Premier League the players are as equally well conditioned, so this can no longer apply.

Barcelona v Shakhtar Donetsk

When you can scour the world for the best talent, why not come to England? I think the buck stops with the English clubs first and foremost. The majority of our Premier League clubs won’t even look to the young talent in this country in the lower leagues. It is only clubs with little or no budget who have to do this. The unfortunate words here are ‘have to’. Britain is just not that good at producing talent – we just buy it in.

The production line seems to have slowed up. We have had no national football academy since Lilleshall closed in 1999. But in Europe Clairefontaine continues to pump out top football talent, academies at Barcelona, Ajax, and Bayern Munich are producing players that British teams will want, like Fabregas. Why doesn’t anyone want our players?

It could just come down to one thing, our players are just not good enough. Look at the performance of the home nations. England are the strongest of the bunch, but haven’t even been close to any national glory since Italia ’90. British players could benefit from European experience and help push the national teams to another level. The top teams in Europe are interested in Gareth Bale, but what other British players? Would they want Rooney? Probably not after his latest mishap (which was apparently him swearing at the cameraman, not down the camera). Why no other players?

I think it is sad that we don’t export some talent to the world’s best teams. More recently some of the world’s top players have left these shores for Spain and the rest of Europe. Is this a sign that the quality in Spain is catching the Premier League up? Or is it the preferential tax breaks and weather that Europe can offer? There hasn’t been a good English player to go to a top European side since David Beckham and other than Roy Hodgson what English manager has a good record in Europe?

Maybe the obvious point is that if the Premier League is the best league in the world then why leave? I don’t really want our best talent to leave these shores, but it could benefit our national sides. It would be great if Europe’s top teams were even slightly interested in what we have to offer. I know one thing, if Barcelona or Real Madrid came knocking on my door, I would be on the plane quicker than lager turns to piss!

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  1. Beefy B says:

    The Premier League is far too good for anyone to want to leave. We have got it all here, tropical weather, the best food in the world, the hottest ladies, and the most reasonable tax system…why leave!

    If I was a player I would be in my agents ear saying get me to Barcelona, if I was good enough.

    Premier League sides can only get the talent from Spain that either Real or Barca don’t want or need – I could never see the top players wanting to play over here, like Messi, Xavi, Puyol, Ramos, Casilias

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