Why This England Under 21 Team Is So GoodJul 09, 2023
442 foreigner here and by the time you've watched
thisvideo, if it's like the day after I do, one of two things will have happened: England will have been crowned European Under-21 champions and a brilliant tournament for them will have ended with the covered or will have been beaten in the final and an otherwise spectacular tournament will have been pretty
goodas it stands now. I'm recording
thisthe day before the final, they got there without conceding a single goal and they're getting More than a few eyebrows raised across Europe at how
goodthey are now. Yes, there is a lot of Premier League experience here, which obviously helps, but to a man, each one of them is playing with a style, with a control and with an intelligence and a brilliance that makes them look like one of the best
teams. armed forces in the world at this level and that's strange, isn't it?
What were the chances of that happening? England appeared in an international tournament with a full
team. Who will read the game very well? I have positional flexibility and is technically brilliant with the ball. How did that happen? Well, deliberately and very, very slowly, so firstly, if you haven't seen England in this tournament and the final you haven't. If it hasn't happened yet then you should absolutely do it and if it has happened you should go back and watch it because they're so good, we've got them nominally set up in a 4-4-2 here because that's the easiest. way to explain it, but it's not really a 442, it's a kind of 4-2-3-1 and it's also unbalanced and the players move and it's actually very clever, but crucial, while I have the overlapping players here who started the semi-final against Israel possibly their best performance in my opinion, they will actually use a lot of different players throughout this tournament. no man played three days.
Oliver jumps played. Cameron arches played. Jacob Ramsey's game they had to switch to left back due to injury a couple of times, they have almost used the entire team in this tournament, but for the purposes of the game against Israel, we have Anthony Gordon and Morgan Gibbs White up front, but none of them play as the nine Gordons fall into the blank spaces. and also falls from the front Morgan gives White to occupy these areas, but he is not afraid to enter the channels and play there. Emil Smith Rowe, he's here on the left side, but he's actually number 10.
This usually allows whoever he is. playing left back to push up and they get this kind of attacking front five. We have Palmer on this side, who tends to stay wide but is very comfortable coming in and making crosses. He got one for Morgan Gibbs' weight. he scored a header in that game despite being about five foot three or something ridiculous, that's how good his movement was, that's how good they were at creating space, who else, who am I? I forget about Curtis Jones, he's a really versatile player, he joins up with players in the middle but comes out and fills in the little spaces around the side, he's not afraid to go and provide strikes on the right if he needs them, all of them, as I'm sure you can see, they are incredibly incredibly flexible in what they do.
What we're doing also got James Garner, a Ryback who is a central midfielder because he can then invest, help in the middle with the build-up and give them an overload in midfield and not have to worry about leaving a huge gap. on the right side because if someone needs to go there, anyone will go there. The second goal against Israel is just the perfect example of this, if you freeze it here, that is, when they enter the attacking third and overlap. What positions all these players are supposed to normally play in, you can see the positions don't mean anything to these guys.
Morgan Gibbs White has stepped out of the line of attack to receive the ball which he now drives towards the goal. He gets Emil Smith with a one two. he allows him to enter the area. Emil Smith Rose now moved into the right channel to provide some width. Garner was the player who had the width originally, so the Israeli full-back stayed with him and left the space open. He gets the Cut and everyone expected Gordon to be the recipient of the ball but he pushed the defenders away and that leaves room for Palmer to come in and score now win or lose in the final which could very well be Spain being a team excellent.
This is still clear. a team that has incredible potential, so what happened is that it is a golden generation, we have a lot of generational talents emerging. No one here talks about the way Bellingham is, for example, this is the kind of standard we tend to expect. In the England youth team, what I mean by this group being different is that there seems to be a really consistent theme across the team that all of these players have a high level of football intelligence and versatility on the field, almost as if You could say that there is something of a blueprint for an English footballer these days where certain values and certain attributes have been identified as incredibly important and have been taught to all of these players from a young age, regardless of the type of academy or of the level of football in which they grew up. as if it were in their DNA and to tell this story we have to go back to 2009, to England's last appearance in the European Under-21 Championship final, actually technically we would have to go back another 10 years and Howard Wilkinson remembers that.
He sat down with the Fa and opted to change football very soon, it's going to change very dramatically and you need to change with that and the Fa said: "No, it's probably not like that, no, we won't do it, but it took them until 2009 to realize that he was right and what happened in 2009 was that a highly rated England under-21 team that had many players with Premier League experience who were going to have brilliant careers supposedly faced Germany in the final of that tournament and was absolutely humiliated and It is not surprising to look back because that German team had Manuel Neuet had its own Boateng Matt Tummel Sammy Kadira Mesut Ozil some players who went on to play at the highest level throughout their career and that team England Hadley capital and the thing is If we just look at that England 11 here, wait, I'll set them all up, it really represents all those sort of cool football philosophies that we thought of as essentially English and that the rest of Europe has long since moved away from.
Here you have three muamba noble and caramel midfielders, three honest professionals who are tough in the tackle and won't give an inch and will win the ball very well, but God bless them, there really isn't a shred of technical intelligence anywhere . there as if it were really those three in the middle of the park versus Hummels Kadira and Urzo and even up there was James Miller, who at that time was still seen as a conventional winger who was going to maintain the width that he was going to have. go to the signing and put those crosses in and Adam Johnson, who will say he absolutely knows more about him, Theo Walcott in the middle, because Theo Walcott was a renowned player, did he fit into that system?
No, but he had already been in the 2006 World Cup and everyone thought he was going to be really good, so you want to start from that grand final. England had one shot on target all game and yet somehow this still wasn't a wake up call from the FA. In this way, the class chasm between Germany, a nation that prioritized having an established route to the senior team and had this kind of built-in philosophy about how they wanted their players to be trained, versus just the England team that had players from the Premier League Academy in Golf class was not yet a wake-up call for them that would not come until 12 months later, at the 2010 World Cup, where once again England played Germany and lo and behold, in the eleven Germany's starter that day was Manuel Neuer in goal. and Mesut Ozil and Sami Khadira in midfield, as well as several other members of that under 21 team, were spread throughout the team and for England there was James Milner, now this game was yeah, okay, you're one step ahead of me , it was Germany, four, England, it is a game that is talked about exclusively because of that Frank Lampard goal that had crossed the line but did not happen, but what is not talked about is that even if it had happened in Germany, they could I would have scored seven or eight goals here if they had wanted Germany to be playing that exciting new 4-2-3-1 system that gave so many movement options and opportunities to create overloads and put players in behind.
In England we are playing 442 and not even a good 442 because of the way they had Barry, Lampard and central midfielder Gerard narrowly jammed onto Milner's right side, with the winger, Rooney and Defoe with no real plan on how to use Rooney and Defoe up top, Fabio Capello, for everything he receives, it was a lot of trouble. He's not stupid, he knew that Jeremy would have a man advantage in the middle, so he played Gerard in this left half, the main idea so that when England were out of possession he could come in and help with defense and ball contests, and when they have possession he could go out into wide areas and you just right foot to try to get the players behind it smartly sensible to pair them three in the middle but this is what Germany's pairing with three in the middle really produced. half and that's not even one of the goals, the goals were all in some way, in fact, look at this, look at this for a second, draw a line on those are England's back four when the second goal goes in, that's the line they were holding and while the fa were kind of willing to let the under-21 final go because, well, it's just the under-21s, the fact that so many players from that game then turned up at senior level and humiliated to England even worse a year later was finally the wake up call that I needed to do something and that's something led in part by Dan Ashworth who is now at Newcastle United, it was the idea of England's DNA and these Georges Park facilities now, Funnily enough, they had started building this facility about 10 years earlier, when Howard Wilkinson was hitting the Drone that needed to do something, but it started to get expensive and then Wembley was costing a lot of money and they weren't even sure what they were going to use it for, so it ended up being put on the back burner and completely forgotten until Mesut Ozil did this to Gareth Barry, so they went into action by flushing their heads quickly down the toilet in South Africa, finished it and opened it two years later and all The idea behind this or specifically the idea of England's DNA was that they were going to identify key traits, key qualities that could be trained in players and start doing that from the earliest age possible so that when some of these players potentially reached a level at which they could represent the nation, whether at the youth or even senior level.
At the level level, they all had an intrinsic set of tools that would make them really versatile, really skilled, really adaptable footballers, and the thing is, they said at the time in 2010 that this is not a project that's going to bear fruit anytime soon. term, this is going to get worse. because we have neglected the national setup for so long before it gets better and they realized that England got knocked out in the group stage of the next World Cup and then got knocked out of the Euros by Iceland of all the teams right after that and just To show you how much things have changed since then, here are some actual slides from England's DNA presentation.
Everyone who attends this at Georges Park at all levels. Men's teams. Women's teams. Junior team. Senior teams. They are part of this. Talks about how England needs. Prioritize being as good out of possession as in possession How to recognize transitions on the pitch and exploit or cover them as necessary How players need to be tactically flexible, as well as having several different positions they can play in and What does that description look like? What sounds a lot to you? This England under 21 team, the FA said this program could take 10 years to come to fruition and here we are, 11 years after they started it with a team that absolutely exemplifies all of these characteristics. and you will also notice that there is nothing in this presentation about determination and steely courage and never saying die to get them;
It's about understanding what modern football is and producing modern footballers and that's how England have created this really exciting team that they are today. They're under 21 now, like I say, this video will probably come out the day before, so if they've been spectacularly defeated I'll look a bit silly, but keep in mind that the journey to get there says a lot about how good it is. They have become win or lose and, of course, if they won, that didn't mean a single word about it being the journey and not the destination. I never doubt them for a second anyway, right, that's all from me, thanks.
Thank you so much for watching, thank you so much if you're a subscriber, we actually hit 400,000 subscribers between the last two videos, which I saidcould happen but I didn't think it would happen so honestly from the bottom of my heart thank you and If you are not subscribed but have enjoyed this video or any we have made before then please consider subscribing as it will take you a second to hit the thing we send you the video directly and it really helps us. In the meantime, as always, thank you very much for watching. I have been Adam Cleary.
Please find me on all social media now at Adam Cleary c-l-e-o-i Twitter. I'm funny there. Instagram. I'm emotional overlaying threads. I haven't decided my identity there yet, we'll see how it goes and if you can't get enough of England content internationally, check out the latest issue of 442 magazine with England's lionesses ahead of their world. Cup in Australia and New Zealand, they are our cover stars, we have great interviews with them. In the meantime, it's a really good time for the magazine, although it was a very long ending, bye bye bye bye.
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