Why is Spain so much better than England? Lifestyle and attitude
Footballers in Spain have good characters as well as the necessary technical skills
AS THE dust settles on another Spanish football triumph the question of what England can learn from their masterclass in Eastern Europe is being addressed. And the pundits are agreed that although Roy Hodgson's side made it to the quarter finals they are still a long way behind the European football elite.
It wasn't just Spain who showed the way forward, playmakers like Italy's Andrea Pirlo and Mesut Ozil of Germany graced the tournament with their presence and made it a pleasure to watch.
"Football - pure football - flourished in Poland and Ukraine," writes Oliver Kay in The Times. "And that puts England firmly among the losers.
"This might have seemed like a tournament when, under Roy Hodgson's quiet authority, they rediscovered a sense of purpose and unity, but once the backdrop of decent results against low expectations is stripped away, these finals have shown England to be an increasingly outdated team, continuing to play analogue football in a sport that has gone digital."
Indeed England, and the other home nations, are now so far behind Spain that when the Daily Mail asked which British players would break into the Spanish team, not one current international player got a mention. Instead the paper's experts delved into history and picked the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Paul Gascoigne and Gary Lineker.
A winter break and more nurturing for young talent are two things England must introduce, says Henry Winter of The Daily Telegraph. The clubs do not always help, he says, withdrawing their prospects from international get-togethers and churning out brats.
"Spanish academies, particularly Barcelona's La Masia, aim to mould good characters as well as good players," he notes. "The Premier League academy system has sadly produced more than a few who fail to take responsibility on and off the pitch. Too cosseted. Too full of themselves."
England also suffer because of an "obsession with size, strength and a clean-sheet culture," reports The Guardian.
However, Wigan boss Roberto Martinez tells the paper that players like Jack Wilshere can help change that. And he says that because size and strength are deemed so important players like Xavi, Iniesta and David Silva will never make it through the English youth system.
There is another, lifestyle related, problem that exits in Britain. "Martinez stopped short of talking about a drink culture," said the paper. "But he did refer to the fact that young up-and-coming players in England 'play reserve games on a Wednesday, which means they have all the temptations any teenager faces on a weekend'." ·