Harry Redknapp forgets all about Portsmouth, Southampton and Spurs’ Peter Crouch as he slams England’s long-ball game
IN “English football has to change. We don’t know how to play – we just boot it up the pitch”, Sun columnist and QPR manager Harry Redknapp looks at the state of the national game following the England Under 21 side’s failure at the Under-21 Euros.
We do not know how to play football. We just boot the ball up the pitch and it gets us nowhere.
Look at the so-called ‘Golden Generation’ of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, John Terry, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole etc. Man for man there wasn’t a country on Earth that could match that on paper. But together they never produced because we just hoofed the ball forwards into channels and hoped for the best…
It’s about possession, retaining the ball, controlling the game. We need coaches who believe in that ideal.
When I was boss of West Ham I had a 15-year-old Rio Ferdinand with me. I always told him to bring the ball out of the box, not just boot it forward and if it goes wrong I’ll take responsibility.
But that’s the way football should be played and it’s the way to win things.
All good stuff.
Previously from Harry Redknapp:
“It’s no good putting him up front and then trying to play the ball to his feet all the time. Peter is a technically good player but England should use his height — because he towers above most defenders. I’m the last one to advocate the long-ball game but, if you have a player like Steven Gerrard who can put the ball on his head from 35 yards out, do it. While he does that, the team can surge forward as a group and pick up the second ball, the knockdown they know is coming. If you’re not going to make the most of Crouchie, don’t play him, simple as that. “
Also on Crouch, the player Redknapp signed twice – managed at Southampton, Portsmouth, Spurs, and wanted at QPR:
“It’s a difficult one because you do have to hit him with the ball. He’s not going to run channels for you…”
On Spurs being accused of being long-ball team by Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel (who went on to play at Spurs):
“If you can hit a 50-yard pass, it’s better than a 10-yard pass or a backwards one. It’s about creating strikes on goals, if it’s 50 yards then it’s a great ball. It’s about quality… Every time we hit Crouchy against Villa he knocked the ball down and we had chances to score. “If you are going to have Peter Crouch in your team you have to use him, you can’t expect him to run up channels or to come short. That’s not his game. He is an option when teams fill up the midfield and you can’t pass through them. We have that great option to miss out the midfield, hit him and pick things up around the box…”
Mario Been, the NEC Nijmegen coach, said of Spurs under Redknapp:
“When we see the DVDs, what we see is that they try to play the long ball and then the game starts from the midfield. We are prepared for that.”
And this is the same Redknapp who when England were failing to impress in the Euro 2012 Championships advocated bringing on big Andy Caroll and hitting it long to him.