European U21 Championship

Manchester City academy coach Patrick Vieira demands scrutiny of English coaching

Patrick Vieira: Is calling for an overhaul of the English coaching system

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Manchester City academy coach Patrick Vieira believes the English style of teaching football must be reformed if the national team is to succeed.

The former Arsenal, City and France midfielder insists the root of England's problems run deeper than too many foreign stars in the Premier League.

City came under fire during the week as they fielded just two English players in their starting XI as they slumped to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of defending European champions Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

While Bayern boasted six Germans on Wednesday evening, four English teams mustered just 10 home-grown players between them and Vieira believes it is time to examine the grassroots of the game.

"For me, this is the way to hide what is the real problem in this country," Vieira told The Independent.

"The problem is deeper than just saying there are too many foreigners and for me that is the comment everybody wants to hear.

Method

"The gap between the Under 21 and the first team is massive...that is why so many boys have failed to make the leap to the first team."

Patrick Vieira

"When you see so many kids playing the game and so few being top players, you have to say something is wrong somewhere.

"I think England has to change the way they are teaching football, because football is changing and the method isn't changing as much."

Despite calling for a change of coaching technique, Vieira hailed the enthusiasm shown by upcoming players in England and has called for the Football Association to build more training facilities like St George's Park.

"On the other hand, there is so much passion and love for the game among the youth [in England] that you don't always have elsewhere," he added.

"That is essential. But now it's more about the creativity. How do you move around the pitch to be in the right places? How do you control and pass? It sounds really simple but at the end it's complex and really difficult.

Mentality

"So England should start from the grass-roots. You need the facilities - and even though you look at St George's Park, the facilities have to improve. And if you have the right project, you need to educate the coaches. Because you can have the best project in the world but if you don't have the right people to deliver to the kids, it's worthless."

Vieira, who was educated at FC Drouais and Tours, is now combining academy training with the City first team in a bid to bridge the gap, while also acknowledging the fact continental clubs spend more time on the training ground.

"When you are 14, 15, 16 you can train every day in France and sometimes you can train twice a day," he said.

"You train far more in France than in England. Here, we still see football as a game. Football is a job. There is still the mentality where training is at 11, you come in at 10.30 and when it is finished you leave straight away. No."

"It's tough. You grow up. The [Premier League's] Under-21 division is better than last year but it's taking too long to improve.

"The gap between the Under-21 and the first team is massive. That is why so many boys from the Under-21 have failed to make the leap to the first team."