Ian Holloway: If you want to play for your country, clean the toilets first

It's time our young players learned they aren't so special – discipline would help them on the pitch

England play on Friday – against Wales in a Euro 2012 qualifier – but I can't say I'm over-enamoured by the thought of watching. I don't mean that as a criticism of Fabio Capello. He's a wonderful fella, and he has instilled such great discipline that half the team seem scared to death of him.

The problem I've got is that as a country we don't seem to have any idea which way we want to play.

Look at Spain. It doesn't matter how big, quick or strong individual lads are, they are all brilliant players, comfortable with the ball at their feet. They pass and move.

When I watched Germany in the World Cup, their young kids did exactly the same. As a proud Englishman that is frustrating because I don't see us doing it.

There doesn't seem to be any proper system or structure in place for coaching young kids, and for me the whole game needs an overhaul from the bottom upwards.

The National Football Centre is meant to be doing it, but is it? We tried a similar thing at Lilleshall but it just created some big-heads.

I consider myself so fortunate that I was picked up at the age of nine by Bristol Rovers. We were taught by the first-team coaches, who were very good. But I was one of the lucky ones.

Bobby Charlton trained himself. He went out on the street and banged a ball against the wall. David Beckham, as talented as he was, practised relentlessly.

Half the problem is that nowadays young players get away with far too much. We were tested continuously, even when we weren't playing. We had to scrub people's boots and clean the toilets. We had to do all the things that keep you grounded as a human being. They don't have to do that now. Why not?

Let's show these kids that they aren't something special, that they are normal human beings. Let's get the young people of today to actually behave themselves and show some discipline.

That's what the whole country needs and lacks, and no one more so than our footballers. If players are earning astronomical amounts of money, surely they have to be good role models, especially when all these poor students have to fork out huge sums just to go to college and get their education?

So I think that despite all the money that has been pumped in, we still aren't doing the right things at the bottom level and that is why we aren't producing the footballers with the technical abilities that seem to be churned out by the likes of Spain and Germany.

For me, the coaching should be very simple. It's the old driving test: mirror, signal, manoeuvre.

When you are driving, you always check the mirror before you indicate. In football, that means checking around you before you shout for the ball. Then you can do the next manoeuvre instantly, which speeds up your play.

I see people call for the ball, they get it, then they look and see what they are going to do with it. That's wrong. Good players receive the ball, handle it instantly, and play with their heads up. It is so simple to do if it's coached into you at an early age.

But kids in this country don't seem to be taught that, whereas the Spaniards are. They are given a ball until they're sick of it.

We need to have a set style of play from bottom to top and stick with it because for the life of me, I don't know what we are doing as a country. What way do we play? What style are we aiming for? Who knows? I think it's a problem that is affecting the whole of our national game.

Having said that, maybe I'm talking total nonsense because according to the Fifa rankings, England are the fourth best team in the world. Spain, the world and European champions, have been relegated to No 2, behind Holland.

The rankings seem completely ridiculous to me and let's be honest, you can use statistics to suit anything. All that matters is taking on another team in an important game and winning it.

Spain have consistently done that over the past few years. Unfortunately, for many of the reasons that I have outlined above, the same can't be said of England.

If more people were like Fergie, the world would be a better place

I'm pleased Sir Alex Ferguson has ended his dispute with the BBC because I love to hear him talk.

I just hope the BBC ask him football questions. I want to know why he picks certain players, how he rotates his squad, the tactics he uses. I could ask him a whole book full of questions because I find it fascinating how he can keep churning out these wonderful teams.

I don't know what the argument with the BBC was all about but he obviously felt strongly enough to take the stand he did. That doesn't surprise me because he is a man of great principle.

He has old-fashioned values, which he wears on his sleeve. That might drive some people crazy sometimes but if more folk were the same as him the world would be a better place.

He insists his players have the same values and that's why he has made Manchester United into the greatest side in the world.

He is a great bloke who deserves every bit of success he has ever had. It's terrific that we'll be hearing him every week on Match of the Day.

It's not too much for Eto'o

I nearly choked on my breakfast when I read that Samuel Eto'o was on £15m a year. Blimey, I played at the wrong time.

He's a lucky lad but anyone having a pop at him is wrong. Rich people use football clubs as a toy. For them it's an ego thing and a place to stick their dosh rather than pay taxes.

They choose to offer ridiculous wages to players and you can't blame the likes of Eto'o for taking them. You have a career till you're 35 if you're lucky and then you have to get through till old age.

I'd say Samuel will be OK in his retirement but not all footballers will be the same.

Put it this way, if I'd have been offered that sort of money, I'd have snapped their hands off.

Wily tortoise beats the hare

My young midfielder at Blackpool Tom Ince – Paul's lad – owes me money. I told him in training the other day I'd race him for a tenner.

These young lads don't mean to be egotistical but they can't help themselves. So he said yes, we set off together and I virtually walked it. He looked a bit confused, till I explained that I said I'd race him – I didn't say I'd beat him.

Works every time. I don't think he's too happy but I'll make sure I get my money.

Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum