Friday, 9 July 2010
Long, long ago in the tournament - when England were still in, that long ago - Giovanni and I had a little disagreement about "technique". I was arguing that the problem with the England team is not technique - that the issues are "psychological" in some sense. Partly my evidence for this would be that England players seem perfectly capable of trapping and passing a ball when they play for their clubs, but these basic competences desert them when they play for the national team. (As we saw most spectacularly with Rooney in this World Cup.) But, to ask an apparently naive question, is technique as straightforward a concept as it appears to be? After all, conceived of as a purely physical act (is that what technique means?), then passing isn't that difficult. Surely any international footballer has the "skill" necessary to play short passes to team-mates (and my impression is that there hasn't been much long passing in this tournament - Gerrard apart, but you can hardly class his wild punts as "passes" really). Don't misunderstand me. I'm not seeing keeping possession is easy - one thing I can unequivocally agree with Zone about is that the way Spain play is intensely difficult and demanding. What I'm saying is that the difficulties are more to do with the speed of thought, anticipation and awareness of team-mates' and opponents' positioning that a passing game entails - which is why Zone rightly invokes precognition when writing about Spain's passing. Is this still technique or is it something else?
Posted by Mark at 17:42