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England flayed

By unknown | Jan 08, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

The president of world football's governing body voiced his surprise yesterday that England have named another foreign coach to manage the national side.

On the day Fabio Capello officially started work, Fifa boss Sepp Blatter said England had "broken a principle of international football".

"I have never seen Italy, Germany, Brazil or Argentina with a coach from another country," said Blatter.

"In fact, most of the best teams have a coach from their own country."

In an article for the BBC Sport website, the 71-year-old Swiss also said the English game faced a "High Noon" moment after failing to qualify for Euro 2008.

Blatter blamed the Premier League's taste for expensive foreign talent as one of the main reasons for England's problems at international level and said English players and coaches must be given a chance to develop at club level.

Blatter, however, acknowledged that the Football Association was faced with a difficult choice following Steve McClaren's exit, particularly as there were so few English options with the required track record.

"When I started at Fifa in 1975 [former England manager] Walter Winterbottom was working for us and English coaches were respected all over the world," he said.

"But look at the international scene now. Which foreign teams are coached by English coaches? And where are the English footballers playing abroad?

"It is clear something has changed in terms of the world's appreciation of English football."

The 61-year-old Capello is the second foreign coach to manage England, following in the steps of Sven-Goran Eriksson, who held the job for the five-and-a-half years before McClaren's dismal spell in charge.

Like Eriksson, Capello comes to England with a superb CV in club management. Unlike Eriksson, he arrives with a poor grasp of the English language - an issue that Blatter has identified as a potential problem.

"It is essential to speak the language," said Blatter. "You have to be able to motivate the players.

"I would say it is a little surprising that the motherland of football has ignored a sacrosanct law or belief that the national team manager should be from the same country as the players."

Blatter said he welcomed the positive noises he had heard coming from England about the need to focus on player development and improving coaching standards, and pointed to the decision to go ahead with a national football centre as evidence of this. - BBC


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