I’ve just watched England beat Montenegro at football, in Montenegro, 5-1. A few days ago England beat The Czech Republic 5-0, in London, and I watched some of that too. England are looking good.
Here is the most convincing explanation I have found of why. In the bit under the subheading “More ball-hoggers”, it says this:
You know that lad in school who never passed the ball? Turns out he was on to something.
Ashworth says English players are already more technical than he has ever seen thanks to a revamp of the academy system in clubs and a more consistent playing style with England.
But the FA wants to go further.
Peter Sturgess, the FA’s foundation phase coach for five- to 11-year-olds, has been telling coaches up and down the country that mastering the ball is his number one priority. Passing can come later.
“We are saying that passing is important but it’s not a priority for foundation-phase children,” he told BBC Sport. “The priority is building a massive connection with the ball so their individual ability on it, in tight and pressurised situations, becomes as good as it can be.
“You put 11 of those players together on a football pitch and they can play any system you want, because they have less chance of losing the ball.”
Ashworth and Sturgess just might be onto something. To have a good football team, start by having lots of “foundation phase children” who are good at controlling a football, with their feat.
LATER: Meanwhile, in Scotland.