England has never been short of young talent. The recent world cup victories at u17 and u20 level is testament this fact. All across the country are young people playing football passionately at all levels from 2 on 2 world cup knockouts on the street to Academies on a Saturday morning.

Raw talent in young players is undeniable, however it takes certain factors to help a young player develop in the best way possible.


Ability can be developed and stretched but strained without sufficient moral support. Parents/guardians please do not underestimate what simply showing up can do for the moral of your child. Imagine working your socks off for a company yet never seeing your manager, even if it was for the slightest bit of recognition, this is bound to affect your mental state eventually. Your attendance and encouragement can be that bit of motivation a young person needs to elevate to the next level.


Effective coaching goes beyond a qualification and lengthy football CV. Coaches must obtain the ability to connect with their players which goes beyond the role of a standard football coach. This is where the term “Effective” comes into play. A basic understanding of football, team and player development are obvious requirements at its very foundation, however the ability to turn a player’s weakness into their strengths and take their strengths to an elevated level is the difference maker. Players must be encouraged to face and attack their weaker points rather than avoid them. Using a player at any age for what they can already do will only produce results of a straight line and eventually a decline.


For some players, the coach is all they have. Players come from many walks of life, backgrounds and circumstances. It is important that coaches are sensitive to this fact and get to know the players they are coaching. Often the influence a coach has on a player can be the difference maker between the path that players chooses in life. The cases are frequent where players refer to their football coaches as major influences on their lives. Players can come from some real negative circumstances and football may be their only outlet, therefore it is the coaches’ role to identify when a player is going through in order to be the best support mechanism they can be.


“When you start delivering the passes, delivering the crosses, at the right time, people won’t be able to read you. That’s when the great players emerge” – Sir Alex Ferguson on Christiano Ronaldo

Even the best players in the world needed to learn discipline in order to become the best. Ronaldo was taught from a young age, frequent showboating makes you readable to the opposition. Learning to deliver a pass or cross at the right time takes discipline, but that discipline can elevate you from being potentially great to being great. Without discipline players won’t grow nor develop and this is not exclusive to football but inclusive of life in general.


When the fun is taken away, the player is reduced to nothing. Football is a game to be enjoyed. It is easy to get caught up in the learning aspect of the game and end up losing love for it. Through the lessons, wins, losses, discipline etc. the reality is football is a game. Games are to be enjoyed. Nobody will spend money on a games console and additional money on a game they don’t enjoy. Football is no different.

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