OK, so maybe my predictions were a little way off!
After England’s crashing defeat at the hands of the Germans was made slightly better by the Argentineans falling at the same German hurdle, it’s beginning to look like we may have lost to the overall winners of the tournament. So whether you blame Fabio Capello, or the widely criticised Jabulani football, whether it was the weather or the altitude, or the thought that if we had sent our Little Kickers army out there they would have done a better job, we still lost!
However much you may keep your own opinions close to your chest, it’s hard to avoid other peoples’. Water-cooler chat and pub talk has led to a national debate over what went wrong.
Could it just be that perhaps we just weren’t as good as the other sides out there? I look at the team, and whilst Milner and Rooney had a fantastic season at their clubs, beyond that it is difficult to find a player who has had an outstanding season. After Rob Green’s display against the Americans it was reported the whole team were all getting behind him, although in hindsight that was probably the best place to stand!
The pressure put on our players to perform at the World Cup was immense. I know a lot of people will respond by saying that they get paid enormous sums of money to be put under that kind of pressure, and this is true, however, look at the Brazilian side who are paid equally as much, they were filmed coming into the stadium dancing and singing with maracas and tambourines. There seemed to be a real positive, enthusiastic spirit within the Brazilian camp. You could say the same for the Spanish, and even more so for the Ghanaians. The English on the other hand, piled on the pressure for Cappello to release the team early, and were loaded with the expectations generated by the media and the rest of the country. There was a nervous tension created before a ball was even kicked! I look at our own Little Kickers and breathe a sigh of relief that there are some young footballers in this country that are given a platform to perform in a pressure-free environment. Little Kickers only run classes up to 7 years olds, if I had my way we would be running the England team. The English are known for their sense of humour, and their ability to laugh in the face of adversity, so why when it comes to these types of tournaments do we respond so negatively to pressure?
At Little Kickers we provide a safe, fun filled, pressure free environment where children can learn and have fun with like minded people. The expectations are generated by the children themselves; we provide structured games and progressions so that children can develop their skills at their own rate, and of course, with constant encouragement from our expert coaches!
Since England’s World Cup demise, there has been a growing call for the FA to invest in grass roots football, and, luckily for them - Little Kickers have already planted the seed. As we have stated before, we are not in place to create World Cup stars, we simply teach the beautiful game to children to develop their social skills and life skills but this coaching will also inevitably develop them as footballers. So imagine the scene, when the World Cup finally comes to England, expect to see some familiar Little Kickers’ faces in the team, sambaing under the archway of Wembley as the English become the team they have every right to be. I am a great believer that investing in youth is our best opportunity of being successful, but for now, let’s just try and regain the spirit of English football, let’s play with smiles on our faces and enjoy the beautiful game. Let’s put the spirit and passion back in English football!