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Paul Fairclough: England C helps breed that winning DNA

ENGLAND won the World Cup almost 50 years ago in 1966 on our home soil. The likes of Bobby Charlton, Alan Ball, Sir Geoff Hurst and Sir Bobby Moore were ‘street footballers’.

Their skills and winning mentality were developed and ingrained, literally, on the back streets of Lancashire and London.

It was only in their early teens that they were exposed to organised ‘coaching’. Thankfully for them and the national side, their ‘DNA’ was formed in the early years; any coaching thrown at them before hand was not able to contaminate their warrior attitude and technical skills.

Of course they developed a greater understanding of the game, but their skill levels and winning mentality were set.
In the present day we have very few players, if any, whose heritage can be compared to the foreign ‘street footballers’ such as Diego Costa and Alexis Sanchez. Sanchez spent 18 years in Chile, honing his skills on the streets and wastelands.

As far as I understand, the England C football team is under serious threat. Does it “fit” into the FA vision and can it complement the ‘DNA’?

In the main, there is a common thread that bonds all England C players; they have all been rejected by our academy system. So, how is it that in the last 12 years 212 of them have made it into the Football League and Premiership?

Some of them have gone on to play for other National teams. England C and many other Non-League players are unique. Their rejection from the academies has created winners: they refuse to give in.

Their mental strength and innate ability have earned them a career in football. It will not be long, providing England C prevails, before it will be in a position to supply quality performers for the full national side.

Indeed, Roy Hodgson, who was a Non-League player, has acknowledged the merits of two “rejects” by selecting Jamie Vardy and Charlie Austin for the national squad.

England C celebrate Matty Pearson's goal in their 2-1 win over Ireland U21

England C celebrate Matty Pearson’s goal in their 2-1 win over Ireland U21

England C has, on a number of occasions, matched the results and performance of the national U21 team. In one or two instances, bettered them.

It is a fact that county FAs have just suffered a nine per cent reduction in their funding. The poor Sunday footballer will bear the brunt of that with more red cards than ever to boost the coffers! Joking aside, it has been rumoured that England C could possibly continue, providing that they take a 50 per cent cut to their budget. That means they would only be able to play two or at the very most, three matches per season.

An embarrassing situation could unfold in the International Trophy; if they reached the final, they would not be able to play because the budget had been blown on winning games!

Non-League managers and coaches do a great job in nurturing and developing young players. England C then provides an even wider stage for the most talented.

I am sure Mr Dyke’s plans are made with good intention, but to restrict one of the more ‘successful’ England teams does not make sense.

Rather than force the England C to be minimised by cuts, it should be maximised with a greater budget. This way, we can really enhance the ‘DNA’.

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