ACCORDING to former England footballer and manager Stuart Pearce, continuity is essential for any strategy to succeed. Speaking at the Soccerex Asian Forum, which concluded in Doha on Tuesday, he stressed the need to give a coach reasonable time to implement his plans and transform his team into a winning unit.
Sir Alex Ferguson (27 years with Manchester United) and Arsene Wenger (20 years with Arsenal) in the Premier League, and Juan Santisteban (20 years with Spain’s youth team, winning six European titles) are some of the long-serving and hugely-successful coaches who’ve consistently produced a magic formula to stay among the top.
There’re others like Carlo Ancelotti (eight years with AC Milan) and Pep Guardiola (five years with Barcelona), who too got enough time to execute their plans and strategies. Pearce felt whenever a new coach comes in, it leads to several changes, resulting in some instability.
The ex-defender suggested that a manager should be given a long spell to shape a good side, urging England to rethink their current approach of trying out new names at the national team’s helm every two years.
He had a clear vision about player development too as he spoke about the importance of academies in this regard. He urged clubs to invest more time and resources in setting up more academies, and focus on developing their own players rather than buying ‘finished products’.
Having experienced the whole spectrum of club and academy set-ups, during his stints at Coventry, Nottingham Forest and Manchester City among others, Pearce said he would prefer graduating an academy player to the first team to spending huge money in the transfer market for ‘readymade players.’ He lamented most clubs in England were opting for the latter and not giving enough opportunities to their youngsters.
Pearce is a big-time advocate of long-term youth development plans which, he believes, would make a huge difference in any country’s push for international success and help deliver more home-grown players to domestic leagues.
Nurturing promising talents is very crucial to football development in any country. Pearce might’ve been England-specific, but Qatar can take a cue from him and start implementing some of his suggestions, especially giving the national coach more time, providing promising players from Aspire with breaks and also setting up a couple of more academies, perhaps, exclusively for football.