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Kings of Anglia Issue 8 Magazine Offer

Bacon’s Bites: Products of ‘planet Earth’? I love how sport is unashamedly flag-waving patriotic

03 November, 2017 - 19:00
England's under 17's pose with the World Cup trophy as they arrive back to the UK, at Heathrow Airport. But what is the future for them all now?

England's under 17's pose with the World Cup trophy as they arrive back to the UK, at Heathrow Airport. But what is the future for them all now?

PA Wire/PA Images

Wow! How many times can you remember an England football team coming back from 2-0 down to win 5-2?

Come to think of it, how many times can you remember an England football team beating Spain?

All fantastic for our young guns, who were proud to show off their medals and dance round with the England flag. All very patriotic and so refreshing to see from young people in our country today.

But, what now for our young World Cup winners?

Because there is no doubt this ‘golden generation’ of players have the football world at their feet. They are a talented bunch, both individually and collectively.

World F1 champion, Lewis Hamilton, a proud Brit.World F1 champion, Lewis Hamilton, a proud Brit.

But will they get their opportunities here in England, the country they have been so proud to represent and win the World Cup for?

Sadly, I think not.

Because English football IS the Premier League.

It’s win at all costs, the need to stay in the PL means managers don’t have the luxury of developing young talent, no matter how good they are – and that will include some of England’s finest.

Many will probably be loaned out to Championship sides to ‘develop’, some never to be seen again, while PL managers draft in experienced players from across the globe to keep them in the top tier.

Can you imagine a team just above the PL relegation zone bringing two or three teenagers into the side to see how they cope with the rigours of a relegation battle?

Of course not, either the manager will go, or the chairman will splash the cash on experienced, proven players in one last desperate attempt to stay up.

Can you blame them? Of course not. The bucks are big in the PL.

Also, what I think a lot of people forget is that football is a physical game.

I actually get it when I hear managers like Mick McCarthy say how physical the game is.

Yes, it’s great to see Flynn Downes, Andre Dozzell and Tristan Nydam given their opportunities at Portman Road.

The fans love having ‘one of their own’ in the team. But you need the experience and physicality of your Luke Chambers, David McGoldricks and Joe Garners all day long to see you through.

Alan Hansen will always be laughed at for his, ‘you win nothing with kids’, comment more than 20 years ago as a young Manchester United team went on to win the Premier League in 1995/6 season after losing to Villa 3-1, he’s actually been proved right.

Because while United may have won the Premier League with six players under the age of 23 playing more than 10 games that season but no other side in Premier League history has even come close to matching that figure. Experience is all.

I see it in non-league.

Young teenage players with loads of talent, bullied off the ball by players with years of experience behind them and plenty of physicality t’boot.

There is nothing wrong with that, that’s the game today.

People think that just because it’s all flashy kits and pink boots these days, football has turned soft. Well, to a degree it has, but not totally.

Strength is still key and while yes, you will have one-off young teen stars come through the game, it’s still difficult for a young player to make his mark at the highest level in this country.

I wonder if we will be doing that usual journalistic thing of looking back at the England U17 World Cup team of 2017 in ten years time and asking, ‘where are they now?’ If so, I hope it’s a positive piece.

Talking of positivity, hats of to top Brit, Lewis Hamilton.

Another world title, the greatest-ever F1 British racing driver. Even I’m impressed and I don’t really like F1.

But I like Lewis.

Ok, so I know the cynics will say he doesn’t spend much time in this country, blah, blah, blah, but so what?

He’s world champion. He’s British. He waves that British flag aloft with pride on the podium..

Then again, I must admit, one good thing about sport, especially in this country is that, unlike so many other sectors of our society, being patriotic is seen as a positive thing.

From the England Lionesses to the Great Britain speedway team, Andy Murray and his proud Scottish roots, and all sports and individuals in between, there are loads of men and women, professionally and at amateur level, who are proud to represent their countries.

Good on all of you.

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