Let’s talk about the Euro 2016 and specifically England and Wales. Two national teams with two different expectations and two very different outcomes. To start with, England went into the competition with all the usual expectation of doing well. Admittedly that meant just getting to the semi-finals as opposed to winning the tournament and in true England football team style failed to deliver. Playing badly from the start they failed to win a group that they really should have topped. This on the face of it should have been a good thing as it meant their next game was against Iceland. Wales who did top the same group got a much harder draw playing Belgium. Both games went the same way. The teams expected to win, England and Belgium, where convincingly beaten by the teams expected to capitulate, Iceland and Wales.
I’ll write about Wales tomorrow but today we start by looking at England. We can easily and clearly see there is more than one problem there. They appeared to go into this tournament without the manager knowing his best team. He took players who were not fit, like Wiltshire, or seem to lack confidence like Sterling. After the first game of the tournament they seemed to change the system of play to one they didn’t seem comfortable with. They could be seen towards the end of the game looking to the bench, arms outstretched wanting instruction as to what to do. Iceland prevailed and out England went. Who’s fault? It’s easy to point at Roy Hodgson and say he was in charge, he changed the system, he picked the squad and he picked the team. He also started a player who was not match fit and a player who was lacking confidence. He did bring on Vardy but waited until 4 minutes from the 90 was up before bringing on Rashford, way too late. But was it really all Roy’s fault? Think about it, these so called top class footballers where looking for instruction from the bench when the chosen tactics didn’t work. If they were playing for their own clubs they wouldn’t look for instruction, it would either just be conveyed to them or they would just take things into their own hands and make changes to the system of play, the captain would do his job and be a Captain. This sort of free thinking in the England team appears to be quashed at all levels. Out spoken managers who insist on doing things their way, such as Sam Allardyce or Harry Redknap, will never get the England job. They’d want to do things their way and for English FA a yes man who’ll do things the way he’s told will always be the choice. The way things appear to be run and seem to always have been run can be seen looking at the squad off the pitch. I’ve heard journalists say that they attended a training session where they watched the England Goal Keeping Coach working with the keepers. They said that there was not one word of criticism. Even if the ball passed him and ending in the goal the keeper in goal was told he was brilliant or doing a good job, not where he went wrong. You see the players arrive at grounds and they’re all wearing headphones. We’re expected to believe they’re all listening to music. I’ve been on many trips with large groups of military personnel and there was always someone listening to music but never everyone. A more likely reason there are wearing headphones is to walk pass the press without being asked a question. No evidence of course, just a theory based on the way they’re treated when on England duty. Holed up in a hotel, never being allowed out, never being allowed to talk to anyone that’s not with the squad except for FA authorised interviews. They seem to constantly be told how great they are and not having to face the press means they don’t have to take responsibility for a bad performance, team or individual. They are cosseted in every way as a result they all lack confidence not just Sterling. Now it’s plain to see how hypnotherapy can help with the confidence issue that reportedly is a problem for Sterling, but can it help with this type of team lack of self-confidence too. The team shouldn’t be kept away from everyone, they should be allowed to talk freely. They should be encouraged to take responsibility for their own actions. They should be told when they make mistakes or perform badly, only then can they work on improving. Hypnotherapy could be used to help the individual build their confidence in themselves and their team mates. It could be used as a group session to learn new system and as our brains can’t tell the difference between memories or things we’ve imagined, gain experience of them. It could be used to help them enjoy playing the game again. If you don’t enjoy it you won’t play as well as you can.
Responsibility for this dull, underachieving performance should not be dumped on Roy Hodgson alone. He should take his fair share but so should each individual player, every member of the coaching staff and of course the English FA. You see nothing will change in how the players are treated or how the manager and coaching staff work until the English FA change how they do things or at least allow the manager to manage and make decisions on how to do things. The current problem is a result of how the English FA want things to be, the same way as they have done things since 1966 and probably before. The English national football haven’t been successful since 1966, what does that say? They have consistently cosseted the players, they’ve consistently not allowed managers to change the way things are done, they have consistently blamed managers, they have consistently used the excuse “we’re building for the future”, they have consistently perpetuated the myth that England are better than they actually are and should win everything. What it ultimately says is change if you want success. Allow the players to talk to people, allow them out of the hotel, give them constructive criticism, allow the manager to manage and allow the Captain to act like one. Remember, foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of a small mind.