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Mowbray supports Dyke's plan
TONY MOWBRAY is in support of Football Association chairman Greg Dyke’s masterplan to improve English football, but has argued that nationality does not enter a manager’s thinking when recruiting players.
A week has passed since Dyke made his speech at the FA’s headquarters at Wembley, where he challenged England to win the World Cup in 2022 and for the Premier League to increase the talent pool of young English footballers in order to reach that goal.
But while Mowbray, as Middlesbrough’s manager, has seen the work that is going on behind the scenes at Boro’s Rockliffe Park HQ in bringing young players through, he insists that his own job is simple.
“The job of a football manager is to win football matches,” said Mowbray, who brought in Sierra Leone international Kei Kamara and Norwich midfielder Jacob Butterfield on transfer deadline day.
“With total respect to Mr Dyke, his job is not on the line if he gets beat in the next three or four matches. Football managers recruit players who they think they can help their team win football games.
“That's why this EPPP academy system has been put in place underneath first team level to try and create a pool of young English players that will ultimately be good enough to come under the eye of managers.
“There is plenty of work being done beneath the selections for the first team. Greg Dyke has talked about winning the 2022 World Cup. Those players who will potentially playing in that tournament are 16 now, if they're going to be in their prime.
“We've probably missed their technical development at this stage. It should have been done younger than that. It's a huge process you have to go through. I think the right steps have been put in place, but you learn as you go along. You mould it as you see fit, you change things, hopefully in ten years' time you have a whole new crop of English talent that is ready to go to Qatar and win the World Cup.”
Yesterday, Premier League clubs promised their backing for the Football Association commission which is to be set up to try to boost the number of England players.
The 20 club chairmen met Dyke to discuss the new body and it was agreed the clubs, the Premier League's board and leading officials would all contribute to the commission.
A statement said: "The Premier League clubs, board and executive will all contribute their expertise, knowledge and understanding of the issues and challenges in regard to producing England-qualified talent who are of the requisite quality to play both at Premier League and international level."
But Mowbray argues there needs to be a balance between bringing in young players and remaining competitive, and that the teams with large amounts of money will continue to cherry-pick the world’s best players regardless of nationality.
“I've got talented footballers here. We've got Jordan Jones, Ben Gibson, young lads who are potentially good enough. When do you put them in the team? We put a lot in last year,” said Mowbray.
“Ultimately I have to win football matches. People are very short-minded, saying 'get your young players in the team', then when we lose 'get the manager out'. The job is to win football games. Managers at all clubs, all levels.
“If you have money you can go and buy the best players, whether they're Spanish, Argentinian, Dutch, British, you buy the best players and you try and win. That's the job.
“The Manchester City manager has the biggest purse strings in world football, alongside PSG and Monaco, they have to win their leagues. If they don't, the manager will be out.
“My job, with the resources we have, try and pick the best players that can get us to the Premier League. If we don't do it, someone else will. That's what football is.
“I've been trying to get to the point to create my own team. I could argue that I would prefer to have had £20m to get some players that I really like. You could have Jacob Butterfield or Steven Gerrard.
“Gerrard would get us out of the league better than Jacob could, but I like Jacob Butterfield. He's a good footballer. But does he have the nous, the drive that Gerrard has? Wayne Rooney or Marvin Emnes. Who would you rather have? Rooney would cost £30m. You get judged on your team. It does come around to resources.”
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