Venables attempts to forge Dutch masters



Terry Venables may wear his heart on his sleeve when England host this summer's European Championship finals, but his head will rule in all things emotional. It is the lesson he learned from his bitter experience at Tottenham and the reason why he will not change his mind about resigning as coach, whatever the outcome in June.

Emotional pressure from Tottenham fans had tempted him into the ill-fated partnership with Alan Sugar and he would not make the same mistake again. "At Tottenham I made a heart decision not a head decision and I got over- stretched trying to repair my own damage," he said candidly. "I vowed then that I would always make decisions in future with my head. Once is a mistake, twice is foolish."

Even being back among his players this week at England's training camp at Bisham Abbey has failed to prompt a U-turn. But when it comes to football tactics Venables has never been averse to a change in direction, which is what he intends to make in the case of Euro 96.

If you can't beat them, join them, seems to be his attitude. Consequently the three-day get-together with his players down by the Thames this week was not so much about all things English as all things Dutch.

The Netherlands, whom they play last in their group, could stand between England and the latter stages of the finals, if not ultimate victory itself, and Venables believes that if they are to remove that obstacle they will have to beat them at their own game.

Hence the decision to base much of this week's practice and theory on how to counter the unique threat of Guus Hiddink's side and, at the same time, give the opposition a taste of their own medicine. Like the Dutch, Venables has been concentrating on playing with just three flexible defenders as opposed to the popular English ploy of three centre-backs while deploying a central attacker with two wide players to stretch the opposing trio.

It all sounds uncannily like the old "WM" formation, but we are reliably informed that it is, in fact, revolutionary. Of course, it's going to take more than Tony Adams in dreadlocks to play like the Dutch and Venables emphasised the need for English players to prove they can be adaptable. "I always believe every time you go up a notch, you've got to achieve more things," he said. "If you're going to play against world-class players and world-class thinkers you've got to open those minds up."

Apparently, it wasn't all double Dutch to the players, who seemed to take on board the new ideas. To a certain extent, some of them, such as Aston Villa's Gareth Southgate and Ugo Ehiogu, are already familiar with the tactics, while Sol Campbell and Gary Neville have proved their versatility at Tottenham and Manchester United respectively. "I got a very good feedback," Venables said.

Copying Dutch masters, whether it be Van Gogh or Van Basten, is, of course, easier said than done, as Venables would be the first to admit. "Apart from Barcelona under Cruyff, I don't think anyone in the world can play the way they play," he said. "There must be a reason for that because people like to copy success. You've got to know it exactly right. I think in certain areas you could actually improve on it."

A clear case, if ever there was, of the heart ruling the head.

Italy beat Wales,

Last night's results, page 23

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Rodgers showered praise on Balotelli last week, which led to speculation he could sign the AC Milan front man
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music(who aren't Arctic Monkeys)
Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing & PR Assistant - NW London

£15 - £17 per hour: Ashdown Group: Marketing & PR Assistant - Kentish Town are...

Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer

£250 - £300 per day: Orgtel: Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer Berkshir...

Software Developer - Newcastle - £30,000 - £37,000 + benefits

£30000 - £37000 per annum + attractive benefits: Ashdown Group: .NET Developer...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home