Futsal - Is it really the solution to the problem that not only faces England but also the other home nations. I read an article on BBC Sport earlier which said that this sport could give our players the technique we desperately crave against stronger nations such as Spain/Germany/Holland etc. First things first here's a quick outline on the sport itself.
Futsal is a different style of football which is used indoors a bit like Masters football but with a smaller ball to coin technique and control. It was developed by the Brazilians and Uruguayans in the 1930s due to the lack of playing football fields. An interesting stat from Brazil is nowadays more players play Futsal over Football but lack spectators/funding so it doesn't attract attention, you can see where the samba flair comes from now?
The Game Itself...
The match consists of 5 players on each sides one of which is a goalkeeper although it has the advantage of unlimited substitutions, maximum being nine. These can occur at any time even in-game. It's played on a hard court which puts emphasis on keeping the ball on the floor, this is emphasized by the fact the ball is smaller and attracts less bounce. Traits which benefit from this are control, composure, creativity and the ability to curb your technique. The match will last for 40 minutes with 20 each way and the usual 15 in between so it's half the actual game of football and a smaller pitch but with less players and non stop action it's physically demanding as well. Another bonus of this sport is there's no offside so clinical finishers like Javier Hernandez and Robin Van Persie would really get to grips with this easily. The fouls and the cards remain the same.
As you may have guessed since the sport was created by the Brazilians they currently top the rankings in both male and female forms of the game whilst Spain which is hardly suprising looking at their technique in the main game follow behind.
Where are we going wrong?
When you look at England you look at players like Wayne Rooney, Tom Cleverly, Jack Wilshire and they have excellent technique especially the latter two considering their age. The whole England team as a whole should be doing much better than they actually are. Yes they are 4th in the rankings and have beaten sides like Brazil/Spain recently but not when it really counts and not through sheer technique and skill. There is a different between the top national sides and our home nations overall. From a young age in countries like Spain/Brazil/Germany you are directed into a system and are shown technique even at a young age and put emphasis on control and technique early on because the quicker they develop the technique, the quicker they can improve on it. Here's something from Barcelona...
This clip embodies everything you see with the current Barcelona side, composure on the ball well above their age, this is something you will not find across Britain even if you scourge YouTube.
The Bright Side
There is a bright light on the horizon in the form of more funding being put into grassroots football with money comes the backing but without the players and coaches and the motivation to succeed then nothing will grow from this. If the home nations can encourage their players to develop technique from a young age even using Futsal as an example then we can create the superstars and prepare them from a young age. If their old enough they should be good enough simple as that. Age isn't a problem it's a solution look at Leo Messi himself started off at a young age and broke into the Barca team at a young age and now has that experience under his belt and has become the best player in the world, co-incidence definitely not!. There is talent at home with the likes of Gareth Bale, Rooney, and Wilshire etc. The solution needs to be to develop more players like this and make them versatile and creative and let them play with their instincts instead of sticking them in a system. Barcelona is a classic example of this, players are set into the 4-3-3 formation as soon as they join the youth team and have it embedded into them. Look no further than players like Cristian Tello, Isaac Cuenca and Gerard Deulofeu for examples of this.
- Use Futsal as a way to improve players technique particularly from a young age.
- Players who are scouted into the youth system even under 10s should be focused on core skills like composure, technique and versatility and letting the others follow at a later age.
- Use the models set by Barcelona, Bayern and Inter Milan as examples
- Nuture young talents like Zaha, Ince and Chalobah and give them ability to express themselves, pace is a good thing but technique and composure is a bigger asset.
- Use Coaches from afar and spend money if you have to because home coaches don't have the same knowledge and ingenuity.
- Use tight passing games and force youngsters to develop quick thinking and composure from a young age or risk losing out.
Thanks for reading