KEVIN BETSY: Watching Brazil was like buying a ticket to see Beyonce and ending up with SuBo… England may have won, but the Thomas Ince tale reveals everything that's wrong with our game
11:01 GMT, 13 February 2013
12:02 GMT, 13 February 2013
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Kevin Betsy returns for his second Footballers' Football Column fresh from scoring for Woking in the 3-0 win at Alfreton at the weekend. The Fulham Academy coach was at Wembley to watch England beat Brazil last week – but left disappointed with the team in yellow. Betsy is also quick to praise Ashley Cole but has some damning thoughts on the future of the game.
When the final whistle blew at Wembley last week, my love for the game had increased and I wished I could have my career over again. However, as I walked away from the stadium my mind was clouded with questions.
This England team has been much criticised in the past, yet against Brazil they played a superb tactical game accompanied with an excellence in technical ability. Something that you associate with the team that have five stars embroidered above their badge, not the team with just one.
The much hyped arrival of the Brazilian team to Wembley was one of the biggest let downs I have experienced as a football fan. Brazil are a team that lots of people
support as their
second nation. As a young boy in the park or on the
street it was a Brazilian, not an Englishman, I pretended to be.
Winning feeling: Wayne Rooney helped England secure their first victory over Brazil for 23 years
Extravagance, flair and the Samba band are all associated with the yellow, green and blue, but even the band were as flat as their team.
It felt like booking tickets to see Beyonce and then finding out she had been replaced by SuBo. Sure she can sing, but that’s not what I signed up for.
Luiz Felipe Scolari picked a squad which left me a little perplexed, especially his decision to pick 29-year-olds Dante and Fred and Luis Fabiano, 32, ahead of their pool of younger stars.
Brazil’s endless supply of talent will never run out as the country has a system that is tried and tested and produces with distinction. Thiago Silva, Leandro Damiao, Marcelo, Romulo,
Hulk and Willian are just a few names of younger Brazilian players that
did not even make the pitch or were not in the squad, showing their strength in
Big let down: Brazil's box office stars such as Ronaldinho and Neymar failed to live up to their billing
The star performers: Arsenal duo Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott shone on the big stage
Enjoying the game: Kevin Betsy at Wembley
Ronaldinho, two box office players and favourites of mine, certainly put
bums on seats at an almost full 90,000 stadium, but it was two English
players Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott that stole the show and
allowed us to celebrate the English player.
In all honesty, I feel England did play well but it could be a case of Brazil not picking their best team that helped them to win for the first time in 23 years.
Brazil will always have the upper hand over England in the long term, as their youth have opportunity to develop and play from a young age in their clubs first teams.
The Brazilian Campeonato league is full of homegrown players, with only six per cent of players coming into the league from other countries.
If a young player shows any potential they are sold off to Europe. This has always been the economic model and a main source of export.
The players know this as they need to elevate their own career earnings. Third-party ownership is normal in South America, as clubs do not have the financial capabilities of their European counterparts and to keep their best players for longer. Clubs need aid to maintain a player’s salary instead of sponsoring the club, sponsor the player and receive a return their investment.
A large portion of Brazilians have moved to play in leagues to showcase their talents, obtain work permits and boost their transfer values, Ronaldo and Romario at PSV, Juninho Pernambucano, and Michel Bastos at Lyon and David Luiz and Ramires at Benfica.
The Dutch, French and Portuguese Leagues do not have the financial backing that the Premier League clubs enjoy and regulations are flexible on foreign players.
The French and Dutch leagues differ from Portugal at the moment, their main aim is also to develop their own players. They do this well and the road for a young player at the latter stages of development is far easier than in an English club, as they have fewer foreign players to compete with.
Clubs in countries such as these need to boost their revenue and elevate themselves to be able to afford one or two top foreign players to make their club more competitive to achieve Champions League status.
Not what I wanted: Betsy says watching Brazil was like paying to see Beyonce and ending up with Susan Boyle
Without mass spectator volume, TV deals in their league the need to sell young players becomes a way of survival.
In the case of Portugal, they have overloaded their sides with foreign players but have sold on for vast sums, Radamel Falcao moved for 41m, Axel Witsel for 35m, Angel di Maria for 25m.
On a business level this works very well, but in football terms their national team is ageing and if something is not done soon they will also struggle, as their young players have no way of developing.
The Premier League brand shaped by Richard Scudamore must be applauded for all of its work to make the Premier League global and attract the best players that continue to bring revenue to our shores.
But perhaps, with a few tweaks here and there, the national team will increase its quality and pool of players to choose from.
The Premier League has the highest percentage of foreign players with 65 per cent. Countries lower than us include Germany 49 per cent, Spain 37 per cent and Italy 47 per cent. They have all adopted further strategies to the benefit of their sides and we need to take note.
Outnumbered: The Premier League has a very high percentage of overseas players
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We have tried to implement and address with the likes of the ’homegrown rule’ but there are severe loopholes in this system.
Arsenal is a great example of this, with Cesc Fabregas, Nicolas Bendtner, Wojciech Szczesny all qualified as they have the required three years development in England, but they will never pull on a Three Lions shirt.
Despite the fantastic work that goes on at youth level and the improvements being made in Academies and Centres of Excellence up and down the country criticism is always upon us.
Yes, the standard of coaching needs improving and there are processes in place to improve this but the best coaching in the world will leave any individual stagnated and unchallenged and struggle to reach full potential if the environment doesn’t test them.
My work at a Premier League Academy sees our players come up against the best our country and our foreign counterparts. Our level in comparison is extremely high.
Regular sharing of ideas and discussions take place with coaches, home and abroad. There is no magic wand or hidden secrets. It is all quite transparent as a major factor in many European clubs is they leave room in their squads for predominately their own players.
Perhaps the problem may be just one thing: ‘opportunity’. If there is no sunlight for a flower to blossom it will die. Is there enough sunlight for our young English players That is the question.
Developed to a certain level placed in the professional game but sitting in squads with no real avenue to learn the trade and gain confidence.
The newly revamped Under 21 league introduced this season is aimed at bridging the gap that young players in England have faced. They offer competitive games with consequences and a challenge.
Holding games at first-team grounds aims to increase the number of spectators and give them experience of playing in those grounds. This is good but still not enough.
It’s still reserve football, no matter how much you dress it up. There is quite a difference in tempo, tactical learning, and spectator environment to a first-team game.
Hence many clubs prefer to send their youngsters on loan.
Barcelona’s B team play in Spain’s second division and this makes my point, the players are still developing but are under challenging pressure.
People say if you are good enough you will come through but there are only a few Wayne Rooneys in a generation. The rest have to work hard and be
lucky, under managers that are brave, have a vision and will
let them play and learn from any mistakes.
Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and recently Brendan Rodgers have shown
the way. I am not saying we need to change the Premier League as a
product but adjust the ingredients a little.
Maintain foreign players in the country, of course, but just adjust the quantity.
Special talent: Players like Wayne Rooney are the exception rather than the rule
Some people say the ‘six-plus-five’ rule that FIFA suggested contravenes European law and I hear this idea has been abandoned.
But it does have benefits and something similar to this would enable more players to play in the top league on a regular basis and learn from the best players.
One thing is clear, it is not the manager’s fault that they recruit foreign players.
Knowing the market: Swansea boss Michael Laudrup bought Michu for 2m having seen him play in Spain
Their survival is based on results, they don’t make the rules and why should they not favour players where they have in-depth knowledge of ability and value. You get more for your money abroad as some imports have shown already this season and English players are overpriced.
Showing shrewdness in the transfer market with loans, smaller buys is part and parcel of being a top manager. Swansea Manager, Michael Laudrup’s Spanish purchases, including Michu at 2m, are a prime example.
I’m sure If you asked any Premier League manager he would say, 'I would love a team of five or six English players'.
Both sides of the coin: Tom Ince is an example of how clubs can make good and bad decisions
Bosses must favour the market they know but if you have a restriction on number it may be beneficial to the national game long term and this is the governing bodies' problem to safeguard our talents development not football club's managers.
Thomas Ince is just another player who shows all things wrong with English football and all things right.
This bit is right – Developed from a young age at a fantastic academy at Liverpool.
..but this is wrong – Sold to Blackpool for 250,000, then a reported 5m offer to buy him back almost a year later. Patience may have prevailed, the giving of opportunity.
Someone else who has reaped some recent rewards with his 100-cap milestone is Ashley Cole. After coming head-to-head with Ashley on a number of occasions I must say he is without doubt the best left backs in the world.
Big achievement: Ashley Cole won his 100th England cap against Brazil
Tough opponent: Betsy comes up against Cole during his Wycombe days
He has to be coming up against me. Ashley comes second to Roberto Carlos in all-time status. Carlos’s devastating shot and a World Cup winner’s medal tipped the balance for me.
Whatever people’s perceptions are of Ashley off the pitch, in reality you have to be extremely professional to have achieved all he has in football. No matter how talented you are.
In my experience he’s a humble guy. Another example of what a young Englishman getting games from an early age can achieve dispels the ‘we don’t produce players ‘ myth.
Watching Peter Odemwingie on TV the other day, turning up at Loftus Road was as cringeworthy as a guy getting a sea of red lights on Take Me Out [Paddy McGuinness's ITV show – Ed] . All jokes aside, this was not a laughing matter. How could a professional footballer of Odemwingie's standing be left to drive himself to London and also drive the deal to QPR Where was his agent
A deal as complex as this one needed driving by external sources. West Bromwich Albion didn’t want to sell
and QPR had not agreed the fee. Therefore as a player you may argue your
case to the chairman, chief executive or manager but until you get the
green light you have to sit tight.
Embarrassing: Peter Odemwingie drove to Loftus Road on transfer deadline day to try and force a move to QPR
Until you get a call to say the fee has been agreed and you are free to discuss terms.
I presume the agent's fee in this deal would have been quiet substantial; the least they could have done was drive him there.
But now it is done and I hope Peter recovers well from this and gets on with what he does best, playing football.