Below is link to a recent interview of Roy Hodgson, England’s National Team Manager, from FIFA.com. There is a lot of interesting material to be taken from this interview, but one part specifically stood out to me as a Fitness Coach. When Hodgson was asked directly, “What challenges do England face to reach Germany’s level?” he replied:
“I think the first thing you’ve got to do is make certain that you’ve got to emulate their pace, mobility and athleticism because there’s no doubt that’s the way the game is going. At the very top level if you don’t have those qualities, it’s getting harder and harder to be the stopper, centre-half or the very slow, immobile, good-passing centre midfielder. So, first we have to emulate that and we are on the way to doing that.”
This is an interesting point, which highlights the importance of athletic ability in the development of elite soccer players. One of the key differences in the development of youth players in Germany versus in England, is that in Germany, there is later specialization in soccer, so young athletes follow more of a ‘long-term’ developmental model, whereas in England, early specialization is more common. It may be that these differences are one of the causes of the disparity in athletic ability of the National team players that Hodgson is commenting on.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this topic. Drop me a line here to get the conversation started.