Greg Dyke gave his first speech on Wednesday as chairman of the Football Association, the governing body of English football. His remarks confirmed what most football fans and pundits already suspected – that England have a poor chance of winning next year’s World Cup in Brazil. “I asked a bunch of journalists what would be seen as doing well in Brazil. The consensus was if we reach the quarter-finals we’ll do very well. That’s not to say we can’t win. But let’s not kid ourselves, it’s pretty hard to win in Latin America anyway for a European side. We’re certainly not going to go there as odds-on favourites, that’s for sure”, he added. Dyke also began to outline his plan for reforming the English footballing system, as he aims to increase the number of English players in the Premier League, and ultimately help England have a realistic chance of winning the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
With every poor performance or embarrassing loss in a global tournament by England and its youth teams comes the inevitable flood of criticism and re-evaluation of the country’s footballing structure. Every level of the game is scrutinized as the cause of the country’s failures, from the senior team all the way to the academies and youth sides. This statement from Greg Dyke has provoked a similar reaction. While English arrogance, conflicts between youth and senior teams, and poor coaching structure have all been pinpointed as clear areas of concern in the last week, the problems with English football are clearly complicated and multi-faceted.
Or maybe they just need to practice their penalties more? (Don’t watch this video if you’re an England fan. It might ruin your day).