Sam Wallace: It's not just Gazza who's failed to keep up with the Germans since Euro 96

Talking Football: It cannot be coincidence that 13 of the Bundesliga's 18 clubs are managed by German nationals

It is almost 16 years since Stuart Pearce scored his penalty against Germany in the shoot-out at the end of England's semi-final at Euro 96, a brief moment of exhilaration in what turned out to be another famous disappointment chalked up by the national team.

On Wednesday, Pearce returns to Wembley as the manager of the England team, in all likelihood for just one game, but nonetheless having risen higher up the coaching hierarchy than any of his fellow Englishmen who were on the pitch that warm June evening. Higher, indeed, than any of those who were in the Euro 96 squad that went further in a tournament than any England team has since.

What became of the boys of 96? The panel (below) briefly charts the stories of the XI from that night and others in the squad. Aside from Pearce and Nick Barmby, there are no current managers among them. There is an FA director (Gareth Southgate), a Premier League first-team coach (David Platt) and two out-of-work managers (Paul Ince and Tony Adams). There are the leading pundits (Alan Shearer, Jamie Redknapp and Gary Neville) and two still playing (Phil Neville, Robbie Fowler).

There are those from Euro 96 who have simply slipped out of the mainstream (Darren Anderton, Steve McManaman), a celebrity ice dancer (David Seaman), a professional poker player (Teddy Sheringham) and the sad tangle of a life that is the lot of Paul Gascoigne.

Like any team, a group of individuals thrust together at one point in their lives, the boys of 96 have naturally taken different paths, according to character and ability. This was the first generation to earn Premier League salaries which has meant the financial imperative to move straight into management upon retirement was not as pressing as it had been for previous generations.

You can take the viewpoint that the careers of Pearce and his team-mates post-playing have been pretty consistent with the usual divergent patterns of any profession. That is until you study what the Germany team from Euro 96 have done since then.

To a man, the Germany first XI that started the semi-final have worked in football at some point in their post-playing careers. Many are still heavily involved. The 1996 alumni includes a current Bundesliga manager (Markus Babbel), a Bundesliga chairman (Stefan Kuntz), the technical director of the German FA (Matthias Sammer) and the German national team goalkeeping coach (Andreas Köpke). There is also the coach of Bayern Munich's reserves (Mehmet Scholl) and the coach of the Germany Under-16s team (Steffen Freund) from that team that started against England at Wembley. There have been jobs in management for Dieter Eilts and Christian Ziege. Andreas Möller was technical director at Offenbach.

Then you come to the other names in the squad who did not play in the semi-final. Oliver Bierhoff, who scored both Germany's goals in the final, runs the Germany national team as a general manager for Joachim Löw. Löw's predecessor was Jürgen Klinsmann, another of Germany's boys of 96. Fredi Bobic is the sporting director of Stuttgart.

It is a remarkable roll-call. By way of comparison, the development of England's players of the same era looks feeble. As a snapshot of two countries' different attitudes towards the development of ex-players it is telling.

Who takes the blame? To some extent it must be the players. Some of them are still quite recently retired – the England squad 16 years ago was young relative to the Germans – and you get the impression that, for example, Redknapp will be a manager one day: it is in the genes. So too Shearer and the Neville brothers.

But there is also a concern about the opportunities being given to former players. For example, Sol Campbell, another Euro 96 squad member, with 73 England caps, is showing worrying signs of falling off the football radar. Of course, there needs to be some impetus from him to stay in football but what a waste it would be to lose all that experience. It is hard to believe it would happen in Germany.

What of the other Euro 96 boys? Les Ferdinand and Steve Stone are both on the coaching staff at Premier League clubs (Tottenham and Newcastle respectively) although had they been in Germany perhaps their progression would have been quicker. Tim Flowers is on the coaching staff at Northampton Town in League Two. Ian Walker managed Bishop's Stortford in the Conference North until December.

Not all former internationals can have the kind of post-playing career that Klinsmann, Babbel, Sammer and Bierhoff have enjoyed but it can hardly be right that the difference between the two countries is so marked. It is also unreasonable to expect that the Football Association should carry the can for the absence of any pathway from a distinguished playing career to working as a coach or in a club boardroom.

It cannot be a coincidence that 13 of the Bundesliga's 18 clubs are managed by Germans compared with only four out of 20 Premier League clubs managed by Englishmen. A further 11 Premier League clubs are managed by Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish managers but, whatever way you cut it, that is of precious little use when the FA wants to appoint an Englishman as manager of the England team.

It comes down to opportunity and from the class of 96 it is evident that eminent former German footballers get more opportunities than their English counterparts. Not all of them will make it as managers, but the more chances a former player gets, the greater the likelihood he will succeed.

When the FA announced last week that Phil Neville was to join the Under-21s coaching staff on Wednesday it was considered so unusual that it merited back-page treatment from some newspapers. In fact, it is exactly what this country should be doing for its famous players heading towards the end of their playing careers – as many of Neville's fellow Euro 96 squad members would no doubt agree.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW: HOW ENGLAND LINE UP AGAINST GERMANY

England XI v Germany, Euro 96 semi-final

David Seaman: Celebrity TV ice dancer, golf days
Gareth Southgate: FA head of elite development, formerly Middlesbrough manager
Tony Adams: former manager of Portsmouth
Stuart Pearce: caretaker England manager; Under-21s manager. Formerly manager of Manchester City, Nottingham Forest
Paul Ince: former manager of Notts County, MK Dons, Blackburn, Macclesfield
Darren Anderton: media work
David Platt: first team coach, Manchester City
Steve McManaman: TV pundit, one-time business associate of Carson Yeung
Paul Gascoigne: struggles with addictions; mental health problems
Alan Shearer: BBC pundit
Teddy Sheringham: TV pundit, pro poker player

Notable others in squad
Nick Barmby manager, Hull City
Jamie Redknapp Sky Sports pundit
Gary Neville Sky Sports pundit
Phil Neville club captain, Everton
Robbie Fowler player, Kolkata Camelians (Indian Premier League)

 

Germany XI

Andreas Köpke: Germany goalkeeping coach
Matthias Sammer: technical director of the German FA, the DFB
Stefan Reuter: formerly general manager of 1860 Munich
Markus Babbel: manager, Hoffenheim
Thomas Helmer: director at Arminia Bielefeld, TV presenter
Christian Ziege: formerly manager of Arminia Bielefeld
Steffen Freund: Germany U16s coach
Dieter Eilts: formerly coach of Hansa Rostock
Mehmet Scholl: coach of Bayern Munich reserves
Andreas Möller: formerly technical director, Kickers Offenbach
Stefan Kuntz: chairman of FC Kaiserslautern

Notable others in squad
Jürgen Klinsmann former Germany manager, now coach of US team
Oliver Bierhoff general manager of Germany team
Oliver Reck caretaker manager, Duisburg
Mario Basler manager, Rot-Weiss Oberhausen
Fredi Bobic Stuttgart sporting director

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
News
newsVideo for No campaign was meant to get women voting
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
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

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?