If you didn’t get a chance to catch my interview with Sir Clive Woodward on Thursday, here’s another chance to do so. I’ve pulled out some key quotes, however, if you’d like to hear the full interview, just scroll to the bottom of the page.
On England not developing players:
JB: We love a manager. I don’t think Sir Alex Ferguson is not a coach I say that based on the fact that I have spoken to a number of people who have played for him and they say that if he tried to put a cone out it was embarrassing.
But he was a great man-manager with great energies in other areas and he would delegate jobs he was not great at, like bringing in coaches like Archie Knox, Steve McClaren, Brian Kidd and Rene Muelensteen.
But we’re not asking the big question: what is his legacy? People tell me ‘look at the great coaches he’s produced – Roy Keane, Steve Bruce, Mark Hughes’. Are they great coaches? I don’t think they are; some of them are good managers, some of them have failed as managers.
CW: So what would you do? Can’t keep blaming the FA?
JB: I think you are up against it. Too many people within the FA have no clue about the game. People tell me Trevor Brooking is doing a great job and he may well be but every time I see him doing an interview he’s on a golf course.
He’s been in charge of development for a long time and he is not accountable. We now have a guy who I worked with called Mike Rigg who I know him and he’s another imposter if I’m honest. He’s the head of the FA’s talent identification. This is the guy whose claim to fame is finding Yaya Toure. He was playing in Barcelona and they paid 20 off million for him and paid him 200k a week – you don’t find someone playing in Barca’s first team.
CW: What would with you do with your boy?
JB: I should have signed for a coach and not for a manager and the likelihood is that if he progresses you can progresses him.
When I look at myself as a novice coach on a journey, I must help those players improve and let them get out of their own way. When I’m happy I am playing better football.
When I read about the things you did with the England and hear David Brailsford talk about he small details, the small things eventually add up to big things and in football we just think if it’s not working I will buy someone else. If you are the PL why would you have an interest in the national team doing well?
On England at the World Cup:
CW: Do you wish you were there?
JB: Of course I do but realistically the last one was the one I should have been at and I wasn’t playing well enough. Well, was I playing well enough? I am not sure…. but it never happened, whether it was quality, behavioural issues, whatever. Will it be a regret that I never got more England caps? Of course it will. But I have overachieved, just by playing the game – I know I did – given the tool kit I had and I had to work hard to get there.
I couldn’t imagine myself playing in the World Cup because what’s the point? Where is the longevity, what’s the long term plan? We are very short term in this country. We will go with a short-term plan a side that came up short at the last two major tournaments.
CW: Would your team be vastly different from the one Roy Hodgson will pick?
JB: My team wouldn’t be for this World Cup. I love Steve Gerrard and I think he is fantastic player but is he going to play in the next major championship?
CW: But surely the World Cup is about now…today
JB: I agree, but we are not going to win this World Cup. If we select all our best players we are going to come up short. When you look at the reaction of people in the camp they don’t believe they are going to win, the media don’t believe, they are bringing in psychologists to worry about penalties…. I bet when you went into a World Cup you had a fundamental belief that you could win, you were preparing a win a World Cup. When you see Greg Dyke’s reaction to the World Cup draw I’d have sacked him on the spot.
CW: Was that more about playing in the Amazon than the draw?
JB: Does it matter? What sort of message does that send. When you read the messages no one believed we can win it, so why not pick a team for the future? We can go with Gerrard and Lampard and Terry but medium term and long term is that beneficial for the game? We are in football terms losers, we hate teams and players who have success. We love the unlucky underdog – Carl Froch, George Groves situation. Froch is a world champion and won the fight but everyone was cheering for Groves.
What I have started to see with Olympians and in other sports is that they create a culture of winning. We don’t have that in football. We haven’t prepared to win the World Cup, so if we do it’s the biggest fluke of all time.
CW: But when you look at the England team – the England players – can you explain why? I look at it on paper and think ‘this is a team that should scare the opposition
JB: Our players are not world class. They are not world class. We get sucked into the hype of Premier League. We are told they are wolrd class and world class player in the PL make them look better. How many of our players are playing in the CL and getting to latter stages and dominating that competition on a consistent basis? There’s not many.
Rooney I would say is world class – Ronney, potentially, could have been world class. But when you look at him, and I love Rooney, look at his approach and mentality compared to Cristiano Ronaldo – polar opposites. Why is Ronaldo Ballon d’or winner and achieves what he achieves and Rooney doesn’t but when you see Rooney smoking cigarettes, does he live his life correctly? Is he doing everything he can to be the best player in the world because for me he is naturally a better player than Ronaldo but Ronaldo out works him and from the questions I have asked about players who have worked with both, he was in the gym, honing his game and the level of discipline he has for his profession is the reason he is where is he and Wayne Rooney isn’t and the gulf each year is getting wider and wider. If it was on talent alone, Rooney is better than him.
CW: How many footballers can show me technically how to kick a ball…could you do it?
JB: Of course, but I am analytical. Over analytical. But I know plenty who couldn’t; players who have commanded extortionate transfer fees that are now struggling. The answer is that they didn’t know what made him great, what are the basics that I have to get back to if this didn’t work. For four years of my ten years as a professional, working with the best coaches, four of the ten I learned, six years I was on auto-pilot it was like driving a car because the coaching was lazy and results orientated.