Connect with us


Why Gary Neville Is Correct That England Should Not Copy Germany’s Model

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is over. A sad state of affairs for England, yes, but now that we’re officially in post-tournament mode there is still loads to talk about. Most of it will center around how one country got things right while the other 31 still have much work to do, or how the competition is going to impact the sport in years to come.

But for all the unpredictably it seemed to bring, this year’s World Cup still wound up giving us situations we could have predicted from the start. Among them are the reminders that two of world soccer’s oldest maxims show no signs of changing: England are hopeless, and Germany always win.

Most people have rightly pointed to the German soccer federation’s overhaul more than ten years ago when putting their country’s victory into context, and rightly so. Their record over the past seven tournaments (one title, two finals, five semi-finals) is simply remarkable. Don’t expect that to change, either. With the exception of Miroslav Klose, it’s understandable to assume that the vast majority of this German team will be back to take the field in Russia in four years time. And that doesn’t factor in the plethora of talented youngsters Germany already has in the pipeline.

But for all the joy Germans are experiencing, the English are at the other end of the spectrum. One point from three games is never going to induce goodwill, even if the attacking verve they showed against Italy is a promising sign for the future.

Once the final whistle blew in Rio, many England fans – and fans from other nations – were suggesting the English FA should to try emulate their Germany counterparts by instituting their own grand plan.

It seems like a good idea in theory, but one of the country’s loudest football voices was having none of it. 

Gary Neville tweeted Monday: “People who write – ‘England should follow the German route’ are either oblivious to the obstacle or believe in magic wands!”

Neville went on to explain how he believes the set-up in England isn’t conducive to running a model like Germany, where each club from the top two divisions was forced to maintain their own academy, with a focus on the development of technical players.

When you think about it, Neville isn’t saying anything groundbreaking. The German model hasn’t succeeded only because it’s a smart plan to implement, but because it’s the right system for the right country. Over the past few weeks many commentators have pointed to Germany’s economic might as perhaps the most important factor in this transformation. It takes an extremely populated and wealthy country like Germany to change their entire footballing landscape in such a terrific and, dare I say it, effective manner.

But still, Neville’s opinion should be taken seriously. After all, he has seen the ins and outs of the English game from a perspective few could match. Neville played for the English senior team for 12 years, and now as one of Roy Hodgson’s assistants, he must surely see the full spectrum of what it takes to produce a fine national team.

Neville wasn’t necessarily trying to make excuses for England’s present and future failures, he was only explaining how one country’s plan might not come off in another. Neville also tweeted that England need to find their own way of changing things, one more suited to their footballing structure.

Finding that solution is easier said than done – and it might require changes at the FA, something which seems less likely than an England World Cup victory – but it’s worth searching for.

Every nation besides Germany, from Brazil, to the USA, to Poland, are still looking for answers. England have been looking for far too long. To change all that, they’d be wise to take the advice of a man who’s seen and done it all.

200+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
  • Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
  • Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
  • Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
  • Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
  • Price: $4.99/mo
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more


  1. john marzan

    July 17, 2014 at 2:23 am

    i’m not joking, but england should follow the USA model.

    • Jake

      July 17, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      How many trophies has that method won?
      How many world class players has that method created?

  2. JJ

    July 16, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    England must win the next World Cup. Winning is not only about talent, but about will power.

    There is not enough time to fix things like the Germans. More over, there is no institutional basis for any serious planning in England. The “free market” system is good for making money, but not for developing teams.

    Change in time for Russia 2018 will mean serious inventions anyhow.

    1. The coaching has to change. No more folksy men. Get someone with education not just of football, but of the wider world. And, most of all, someone who can command the respect of the players. I suggest bringing back the ex-Man U gaffer, Sir Alex Ferguson, who I think is still the best coach in England. After Sir Alex is done with 2018, get Arsene Wenger, who is a French servant of English football, and will likely retire.

    The FA should also try find a way to allow coaches to stay on in their jobs for at least two years. Get good thinkers of the game to be coaches. Who comes after Arsene Wenger? Can someone like Shearer be a good coach?

    2. Then, England will have to restrict the number of foreign players in teams actually fielded to 6/11 or so, starting with 2015 summer, as it is too late this year. So at any given time there will be 20×6 players active English players in the Premier League.

    Of course it is crucial to that 6/11 playing at any given game means something. There should be an English striker playing half the time, a winger, etc. Basically, it ensures quality contact among the best English talent.

    The limited foreign numbers will also mean that only the best players from abroad will be in England. While the best players in England will be their team mates.

    The foreign quota for division below the Premiership should be about 3/11. That will allow English players to get proper exposure to some world quality exposure early.

    3. The English never traveled well either. So, English Football should send out youth teams to play in South America, etc., right away this summer. Longer tours that involved six games per tour would help. Beyond this, the English FA should pay the wages of younger players to be team members in places like Argentina.

    5. The Press in England is one of the worst enemies of English football. Explore law suits to limit their impact. Also, limit the time players give interviews, or even better, give no interviews. Let the Manager and the Captain deal with the 5th Estate that is rather weak. Or restrict the exposure to decent writers and news papers.

    6. The whinging among fans is sad to see, and fans need to own up to this. Fans need to think beyond their club loyalties to what is means to support England. Fans must demand action.

    7. Most of all action is what is needed, but that means making sure the the five big clubs are brought to heel to serve English football, rather then merely themselves.

  3. Chillusions

    July 16, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    If not copying the German model entails leaving structures and philosphies as is … England doesn’t deserve a better future. Two aspects have to improve no matter the fashion/way: More AND better coaches at all levels, develop a higher technical standard at the youth level.

    How you channel and support your elite talent once it appears at the stage is “almost” a luxury problem from todays stand.

  4. Smokey Bacon

    July 15, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    As with everything in life, the truth is always somewhere in between. There are elements of the German plan that the FA should definitely embrace, namely providing opportunities for German youth players and a consistent coaching philosophy. Right now, young English players are losing out to foreign imports. That has to stop. I’m not saying at the first team level but definitely at reserve and youth team levels. It has to be English first. Let Chelsea , Man City fill their first teams with foreigners. But they need to develop young English players.

    Burton is a step in the right direction regarding the coaching philosophy. We probably won’t see the results for another 10 years.

    Let’s also look at the positives. Hodgson is no Van Gaal but he has introduced new young players, tried various formations and got England playing a more expansive game. Don’t believe me? The stats back it up.

    The Germans decided they were going to do whatever it took to win the World Cup 10 years ago and now we see the result. At the same time, their league and teams are in the ascendancy. It’s no coincidence. World Cup success and a strong league can coexist. England just hasn’t realized this yet. They can match the Germans in terms of ambition . The seeds are already there.

  5. Dortmunder

    July 15, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Don’t invest in academies and young players, don’t educate coaches, don’t support amateur football, better sell all clubs to Chinese and Arabians. As long as they’ve got enough budget to hire foreign coaches and international talent, Premier League will succeed. England probably not.

  6. Cody (#2)

    July 15, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Everyone mentions an overhaul, but what exactly does that entail? Firing all the coaches, mgr, and FA execs? What does that achieve, besides to change to a different style of play that may or may not work temporarily?

    The only change I want is for the UK media to stop having the power to pick the manager, players, and formation. For any other country, Roy Hodgson would have been playing a pragmatic 4-4-2, with NO Gerrard or Henderson in the middle, and it would have taken England out of the group, possibly further.

    Stop letting the media pick the flavor of the month, start letting the FA staff do their jobs.

    • Bishopville Red

      July 15, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      Dude, the problem isn’t that the media pick the flavour of the month, it’s that the flavour of the month is always vanilla, and has been for the better part of 150 years.


  7. El Payaso

    July 15, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    England is a dead land as far as I’m concerned. No wonder people are flocking out in droves.

  8. Denise Vail

    July 15, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    According to ESNP FC analyst most Brits could care less about the World Cup as club over country dominates the narrative. Beside rebuilding English soccer academy would take decades to bring about results.

  9. Brian

    July 15, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Continue to do things the English way and England will continue to not win anything. Unless there’s a major overhaul of the present system there’s very little hope for success. It doesn’t have to be the exact German model but it has to be something similar in scope.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in England

Translate »