England - what now?
I had completely lost interest in the national team, years and years of promise hyped up in the media, the constant rolling out of the sixty-six winning team members talking of exciting new prospects. The years of seeing our side stumble through tournaments and then crashing out meant that for people like me, the thought of seeing a new nineteen-ninety semi-final run or better would never come to fruition. Then along came a man that i simply thought wasn't up to snuff, Gareth Southgate. Not exactly a manager filled with winning pedigree, what on earth were the FA thinking?! I had convinced myself that with Gareth at the helm we would struggle past the minnows finishing second in our group before being dumped out of the tournament by Columbia but as we now know, what actually happened was far more inspiring than that. Yes we met Columbia in the second round but this young team was fearless and particularly ruthless at set pieces, Gareth's game management was masterful and we exorcised some demons in this tournament and before we knew it, a semi-final awaited us. This is when i realised that the similarities with England and Wycombe were telling, you see i believe that this England squad lacks the skilful and technically gifted players of France or Croatia, that being said, we have an abundance of those types of players in the under nineteens and under seventeens, Players like Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden, Ademola Lookman, Reece Oxford and so on.
Therefore i understood within myself that England getting to the final would have been the same as Wycombe winning that play-off final against Southend, We as a club were not ready for that then but look how strong we are now. I truly believe that Wycombe will do very well in league one because of the foundations and time allowed to build such structure, similarly had England got to play France in the final i feared a humiliating drubbing similar to that of Brazil v Germany of four years ago. Imagine how much better the national team will be with young technically gifted players who play without fear and who have experience of winning international tournaments at youth level, of course this all depends on how much club football they get between now and then. A few like Jadon and Ademola have made use of playing abroad because they know the opportunities out there are better for young talent, the Premier League is a business which only cares about one thing - the Brand. How much can they sell the brand for and what do you need in order for the brand to stand out from the crowd, the best managers and the best players from around the world.
This fixation on the monetisation of our top domestic league leaves our young english players often left languishing in the lower leagues and the national team suffers as a result, the few that do make it are weighed down by enormous pressures to succeed and as a result often do not reach their potential. The Premier League is a cancer on English football and i hope beyond hope that this world cup run can wake up those at the top of the game to act and change the status quo.