DAVID FLITCROFT'S FOOTBALL COLUMN: 'I want to see the likes of Spain, Brazil and Germany chase us for the ball in matches

The Bolton News: David Flitcroft David Flitcroft

DAVID Flitcroft has joined up with The Bolton News to try to help the town’s young footballers become better players.

In his first column today Bolton’s FA-qualified level A licence coach speaks to reporter Robert Kelly about his views on what type of player we should be producing and how his background shaped his football ethos

FOOTBALL has not changed since it was invented, you have to move the ball up the pitch and score in the goal opposite to the one you are defending.

What has and will always change is HOW you teach your team to do that.

Like everything in life you have a choice of how you play and manoeuvre the ball and the players from A to B.

My own personal ethos and philosophy has come from experience in football I played at Preston under John Beck, who was renowned for having the most direct football approach the game has ever witnessed.

I hated every moment of my time at Preston North End under his management and vowed, if I ever had the privilege to coach or manage a team, I would teach them a brand of football I would pay to watch.

Under the John Beck regime, we would practice for hours how to smash the ball high up the pitch and fight for scraps.

You would score from set pieces or long throws and practice them for hours. We were restricted to only having two touches so you felt at times that you could never express yourself.

If you are forever practicing the above elements, how can you devote and dedicate time to the ART of football.

The craft, the technique, the creation, the invention, the risk, the unpredictable, the beautiful side of the game that as a fan I want to experience. I love to see someone execute a 60-yard pass to a player who has timed his run perfectly, but an aimless ‘punt’ up the pitch to no-one is nothing short of a travesty.

Possession football is a deep understanding of how to control and dominate the opposition individually and as a team.

Meanwhile, position football is more like a rugby match where territory is the aim – to smash the ball up the pitch.

Here you get the line-outs, set plays, fight for the bits and scraps and whack the ball as far away from our goal as possible. As a player I have played against possession-based teams. They would wear you down physically but not only that it mentally tires you having to chase your opponent all over the pitch.

I would love our national team to dominate the ball, pass the ball with a purpose and precision, create chances from controlling the game and inventing chances through the creation of sublime, timed passes and intelligent movement.

I want to see our players skilfully gliding past players, with guile and disguise and a real purpose.

As a proud Englishman I would love to see foreign players chasing us around OUR pitch and us wearing them down into submission because they just couldn’t get the ball off you.

We are currently developing position-based players.

When a player hears shouts of ‘clear it’, ‘kick it in the corners’, ‘kick it away’, ‘smash him’, ‘take him out’, of a parent or coach, he is compelled to keep doing it because that is what makes the people who are supporting him feel good.

We don’t want to copy Spain, Germany, Holland and Brazil as we must create our own English identity, a unique English player.

But we can take some of the elements.

We have to build off the qualities we already possess.

We have resilience courage, bravery, honesty, passion and desire that has been instilled down the line from our ancestors.

We have to add the foreign flair, imagination and creation to what we already represent.

Check out the Bolton News on Tuesday for more of his views on football


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