Tag Archives: England

Tottenham Star Reveals How Manager Helped Fix Career By Limiting Drinking – Analysis

Kieran Trippier has revealed the role Sean Dyche had in improving his career.

The 28-year-old right-back played under Dyche at Turf Moor, where Spurs play this weekend.

Trippier then moved onto Spurs, where he has become one of the most consistent defenders in the country. He also starred at the World Cup, helping England to a semi-final against Croatia.

They lost that game despite Trippier scoring the opening goal of the game from a free-kick.

And Trippier has now admitted that the Burnley boss helped him limit his drinking — to the benefit of his career.

He told the Burnley Express: ‘He helped me a lot. I was still going out when I was younger – drinking – and I wasn’t looking after myself properly. He came in and sorted it all out.

‘We were close when I was at Burnley and I would love to play for him again one day. We usually talk once every two weeks, just to keep each other updated on things.

‘We’ve always stayed in contact, we’ve always had that kind of relationship. We’ve probably become even closer since I left.’


Dyche is a highly regarded manager within the game and his work with players like Trippier has been clear. So many have come through the door at Turf Moor and left as better players.

This is just another example of his man-management ability and why Burnley are lucky to have the gravel-voiced manager in situ.

The example also stretches to the likes of Tom Heaton, Nick Pope and other players at Burnley, who have gone from Premier League also-rans to full internationals under Dyche’s watch.

Euro 2012 - Article 1 Image

Euro 2012: Thoughts after Round One of Matches

Euro 2012 - Article 1 Image

The Major Thought: Andrei Arshavin

Euro 2008 was, in the eyes of many, the Andrei Arshavin tournament. Coming back into a Russian side after a few games, completely refreshed, Arshavin blitzed the competition, and became one of the hottest properties on the world footballing market. Linked to clubs around the world, Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona to name a few, Arshavin would eventually become embroiled in an ongoing transfer saga with Arsenal that was only settled with the shattering of Arsenal’s record transfer fee. To the British Isles came this tiny Russian, with the world watching and expecting. They knew he possessed the skill at his feet. They had seen it displayed repeatedly in Austria and Switzerland.

It took a mere two months for Arshavin to show his true ability. Liverpool at Anfield has remained a supposedly difficult fixture, but teams as varied as Wigan and Fulham picked up points there this season. Yet in the year that Arshavin defined the early part of his Arsenal career, Liverpool were an entirely different side. They were second in the league at the end of the season, having genuinely pushed Manchester United all of the way. At Anfield, they had picked up 43 points out of a possible 57, a staggering sum. And Arshavin ripped them to shreds. His team around him faltered, but Arshavin was the focal point in a display that has since slipped into legend. Four goals. An incredible number, even if we discount the fact that it occurred at one of the hardest stadiums to play at, against one of the top two teams in the nation that season. Bad players do not do that.

It’d be entirely reasonable to suggest he’s gone off the boil a bit since then. In fact, the most accurate description of his performances at Arsenal this season would be suggesting they are akin to a particularly disgruntled badger who has awoken one day to find it’s feet have been tied together with a ziplock. Furthermore, said badger hasn’t been able to do any exercise, any attempts hindered by the aforementioned ziplock. It has also chosen to dedicate exercise time instead to the consumption of pasties.

However, reports from the mystical land known as Eastern European football suggested that, in fact, Andrei was doing alright back at Zenit. A change of scenery, or perhaps a return to previous pastures was all he needed. On the other hand, more reasonably, I would like to hypothesize that what Andrei Arshavin actually needs is to be played in his correct position. Insanity, I am completely aware.

People are often accused of being as stubborn as a mule. When it comes to pigeonholing players, Arsene Wenger is about as stubborn as a tree that has been placed atop that character in a film you know just isn’t going to survive. And there are zombies coming over the hill. You can hear the groans. Wenger decided Arshavin would be a left winger, and a left winger he shall be. We’ve already covered his thoughts regarding Walcott.

Admittedly, Arshavin’s good performance this week against the Czech Republic came out on the left hand side, but there was a noticable difference about it. The play fed through him. He didn’t need to beat men, just receive the ball and feed it. Arshavin is, I believe, and I will readily accept heavy criticism on this, in reality a playmaker. For Arsenal, he should probably be operating more centrally. This is on the back of one real performance that impressed me at the Euros, but he is a man to watch for the rest of the tournament. 2012 could once again be the year of Andrei Arshavin.

Little Thoughts about Sport #1: Holland

Take heed, Holland, a loss in the first game is not the end of it all. Spain at the World Cup, for example. Yet the act must be brought together soon, especially directly in front of goal. The sheer profligacy of the strike force was incredibly disappointing, Van Persie immensely impotent after such a prolific season domestically. Ties against Germany and Portugal seem vastly less simple than one against Denmark, yet I’d still back them to go through and go far. The football is certainly good enough. Just sort out the shooting.

Little Thoughts about Sport #2: The Back Three

Italia. Mamma Mia. You know how to, how you say, stifle a false nine, no? Danielle De Rossi was employed with aplomb in a back three against the Spanish, playing very much in a role that I expect to become far more common in world football. Pep Guardiola used Javier Mascherano in this role this season, but rarely, as it relied on all of his preferred back three being fit. You may begin to notice a trend of the defensive midfielder dropping deeper, being used to launch attacks, but still being part of a true back three. Exciting tactical times.

Little Thoughts about Sport #3: England

It would be remiss to not consider England. Are the team as bad as I thought beforehand? Admittedly, a draw against one of the favourites is nothing to scoff at, but there are some caveats. Key players like Yann M’Vila are out for France, and set-pieces were always going to be a threat with France’s weakened back two. England did not seem entirely outclassed, which was obviously a bonus, but I would not yet become excited over a draw earned through a well worked set piece.

Follow Amitai Winehouse on Twitter @awinehouse1

The English Game: Conservatism, Rigidity and Failure

After every international failure, the media in England hold an inquest as to what went wrong. Last Thursday night, on Channel 5, there was a moment that I felt summed up a significant segment of the issues with the country’s footballing psyche. As Aurtenetxe, ostensibly Athletic Club’s right-back, jinxed his way through the Manchester United defence, eventually crafting a goal scoring opportunity for himself, Stan Collymore questioned why a player in his position should find himself in that part of the pitch. Collymore was, sadly, an unwitting participant in an incredibly salient moment in English football. One in which an analyst, supposedly an expert at football, revealed beliefs that had been eradicated almost a generation earlier on the continent.

When Michels introduced totaalvoetbal through his Ajax side in the early part of the 1970s, people heralded a revolution in football thinking. For the two seasons running between 1971 and 1973, Michels’ Ajax did not only not lose a single home game, but achieved total domination, with a record of 46 victories. They were also clearly the best side on a european stage, clinching three European Cups in a row. This innovation, centered around Cruyff’s ability and willingness to move around the pitch, playmaking on behalf of the team, despite his supposed role as a center forward, would eventually become the foundation in ideology for the 1974 Dutch national side, arguably one of the better sides not to have won the World Cup at a given tournament. Coasting past teams such as Argentina and Brazil with great ease, the Dutch were eventually defeated by a West German side who stifled Cruyff’s creativity enough to snatch victory.

What, you may ask, does totaalvoetbal have to do with Athletic Club, English football and Stan Collymore? The answer lies in the very question. Would Bielsa look at the Dutch national side of 1974 and see them as intrinsically linked with his Bilbao side? Probably not. He would see them as an influence on football on the continent, but be well aware of the differences between how his side play football and that of Michels. He would, however, understand why the generation of footballers he manages have amongst their ranks right-backs who break forward and threaten the goal. He would understand the innovations of Michels’ team and the segments of the game which directly derive from their tactics. He would not, as Collymore did, question why a right back would be so close to the goal, in the center of the pitch.

Collymore is, in essence, symptomatic of the issues with English football. This is not to say that he alone is at fault in the world of English punditry. One merely has to look at the manner in which David Luiz has been treated since his arrival on the island. Oft derided for his ability to run with the ball and pose a direct threat to the opposition net, as it does not agree with the stereotype of the center back, Luiz will often find himself blamed for mistakes other defensive team mates have made. When Luiz goes forward, is he not simply attempting to have a hand to play in football’s ultimate aim, which is the scoring of goals to win matches? If he feels confident enough to contribute in this regard, Michels would encourage him to attack. The onus should fall on team mates to cover where gaps have arisen. This positional interchange is one of the key tenets of the totaalvoetbal that arose almost forty years ago. The level of success Luiz often has in these advanced positions should be evidence enough of the reasonability of this sort of play. Yet debate still arises over whether Luiz is not a midfielder, or if he’s a bad defender. The answer is neither, his attacking abilities do not render his defensive abilities null and void. The debate does nothing but symbolise English football’s unwillingness to accept tactical and footballing realities that are simply part of the game elsewhere in the world.

This positional simplicity is compounded by the debate that operates on the other end of the scale. Wayne Rooney is the prime example of this. The number of times commentators have questioned what Wayne Rooney’s ‘best position’ is number in the hundreds by this point, when, to any observer not blinded by the rigid roles ascribed to players in the country, it is quite clear that Rooney’s best position is simply on the pitch. He operates wherever he chooses to down the spine of the team, and that is partly why he is the best player in the country. He is simultaneously creator and goalscorer, operating effectively in both midfield and attack. To do what most pundits seem to desire, and tether him to a rope that allows him to operate within 18 yards of the goalmouth, would be to neuter the nation’s most exciting talent.

As if to symbolize the immense success of innovation, Javi Martinez, ostensibly a central midfielder, has been deployed at the center of defence for Athletic Club this season. This allows play to be built from the back. Another debatably successful side, Barcelona, have done the same, fielding Mascherano in a frequently used three-man defence, providing an immensely deep-lying playmaker. Any attempt to institute this in England would, you feel, be derided. Manchester City’s attempts to play three men in defence earlier this season, without a playmaker, were seen as some sort of tactical deviancy. Over from Italy comes this man, wearing scarves and trying ridiculous things. Three men at the back? Alf Ramsey would not stand for this.

English football, is, to a large degree, suffering from this rigid sense of positional play that the rest of the world has long forgotten. It does not even just apply to the obvious, however. Mancini’s attempts to have Manchester City’s defenders zonal mark from corners were oft derided by commentary teams. This despite the level of success the team would achieve from this ploy. City would, by February of this year, only have conceded two goals from corners this season, and beyond this, they had a positive aggregate goals from corner count of +10. Scoring 12, they are clearly aware of frailties to exploit in other team’s corner defending, even when the success of their defence is discounted.

Where does this English deference to rigid positional understandings come from? Jonathan Wilson, in Inverting the Pyramid, clearly reveals a history to a lack of English tactical innovation that belies trends around the world. Long after other nations had begun to abandon the W-M, England rigidly stuck to this formation. This would, of course, lead to the loss against Hungary that revealed England’s no longer dominant position in the footballing world. The man marking used in this game simply did not work, as the center-half had no idea how to deal with a deep-lying Hidegkuti.

Maybe it is a series of failed attempts to depart from this tradition that causes English football to remain so rigid. Admittedly, steps have been taken and a fluid front four is becoming more commonplace in the English game. The conservative nature of the media that surrounds the game, however, does not inspire confidence in this regard. One feels as though the generation of players commenting on the game will be nothing but a hindrance to the innovation necessary for English success on a European and international scale. Criticism comes for anyone attempting anything truly new. Flexibility and fluidity are probably footballing buzz-words on the continent. It is time for English football to accept, adapt and take charge.

Follow Amitai Winehouse on Twitter (@awinehouse1).