Owen urges England coaching revamp after Euro agony
England bowed out of Euro 2012 in Kiev on Sunday with their sixth penalty shoot-out defeat in seven attempts after a one-sided quarter-final against Italy finished 0-0 following extra-time.
But unlike previous disappointments, there was universal recognition on Monday that England had got exactly what they deserved from the encounter and that the technically superior Italians were worthy victors.
The match statistics later underscored Italy’s superiority in all departments, with the Azzurri enjoying 64 percent possession to England’s 34 percent, with 35 goal attempts to England’s nine.
England’s failure to maintain possession was also reflected in the telling passing statistics, with Italy completing 815 passes to England’s paltry 320.
Owen said the only way England could hope to be competitive in future was to change coaching at grass-roots level.
“Easy for people to say ‘until we keep possession better we will never win anything’. We are not as good as others at doing that,” Owen wrote on Twitter.
“We played to our strengths but are just not quite good enough. We were hoping to ‘do a Chelsea’ (referring to the tactics they adopted to win the Champions League last season).
“If you are not the best team then you have to find an alternative way to win. The other option is to forget results for a while and start from scratch playing a different style.
“Doubt we have the type of players to do that though. Answer has to be to start coaching our youngsters a different brand of football.”
Former Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp meanwhile said England had no player of the calibre of Italy’s masterful man-of-the-match Andrea Pirlo.
However, he added no criticism could be laid at the door of manager Roy Hodgson, the man who to general surprise got the job ahead of ‘peoples favourite’ Redknapp to replace Fabio Capello, who stepped down earlier in the year after John Terry was stripped of the captaincy.
“It would have been an injustice if we’d won,” Redknapp said in The Sun. “They had twice as many touches as us.”
“Roy Hodgson did the best he could with that squad. The players couldn’t have given any more.
“What this could do is provide a lesson for everyone about how to be a force at international level,” he said. “With Andrea Pirlo in there it was extremely tough for our boys to make an impact.”
Meanwhile former England manager Graham Taylor said Sunday’s defeat had exposed the limitations of Hodgson’s preferred 4-4-2 tactical formation.
“If we’d won, we’d all be excited and we’d all be saying things but in the back of our minds would be the 120 minutes where we were the second best team,” Taylor told BBC Radio Five Live.
“But in Andrea Pirlo you’ve mentioned a player there who had the freedom of the pitch. This is difficult, but it’s one of the things I learned from my time and that is that we were never going to win anything playing 4-4-2.”
Taylor said England would need to change their approach to the game to be successful in future.
“It’s about style of play,” he said.
“They are very comfortable on the ball and apparently going nowhere for a lot of time. That is something we are getting more and more aware of, possession is nine-tenths of the law in that regard.
“Italy basically kept the ball from us and dominated possession and had more shots. England looked tired as the competition went on and we’ve seen that before in many respects.”
Published Date: Sunday, June 24th, 2012 | 11:14 PM