• Change in philosophy needed, says Liverpool manager
• Talent can be coached out of players, Rodgers adds
Harry Redknapp may be beating a lonely drum in continuing to complain about his treatment by the FA over the England job last year, though to give credit where it is due he did identify the right man to help modernise coaching in this country.
Brendan Rodgers, who confirmed this week that Redknapp approached him over becoming his England assistant while he was still at Swansea City, passionately believes this country produces players who are as technically gifted as their European counterparts, only to be held back by unimaginative coaches.
"I've thought for years that this country produces players as good as those from anywhere else in the world," the Liverpool manager said. "But often you find they have been told they are not technically good enough or taught not to pass the ball in certain situations. I always remember Chris Waddle being told he didn't work hard enough when he played in this country, then as soon as he moved to Marseille he was considered world-class. There's Glenn Hoddle as well, and when you look at the more recent technicians we've had here, European Cup winners like Paul Scholes and Steven Gerrard, you cannot say we can't play football in this country."
Rodgers would not go as far as to suggest that the so-called golden generation turned out to be a wasted one – "that is maybe a bit harsh and I wouldn't want to disrespect any coach who has taken the players" – though he does feel that the system in England tends to stifle natural talent.
"I would say talent can be coached out of players, absolutely," he said. "It's just fear. It is easier to get rid of the ball than to pass it, and I understand that as a coach you need to win games, so you smash the ball up the pitch so you don't lose your job. But don't then say that is the type of player we have in this country because it is not. Boys here know how to pass. We need to stop blaming the players because it is not their fault. The problem is the coaching."
St George's Park is supposed to produce better qualified coaches and a coherent strategy in time, though while Rodgers admires the facilities he believes a change in philosophy would be more important. "It's a very impressive site and in terms of facilities we are way ahead of most Europeans now, but that is not as important as a philosophy, a belief in how you want to play.
"We had no facilities whatsoever at Swansea, we used to train on an AstroTurf pitch and get showered with the general public, yet everyone was talking about how we played football. It is well known that British players will work their socks off, but they also have technique and tactical understanding that they can use if you give them the confidence they need. We have got fantastic talent here, look at the young boy [Ravel] Morrison. What a mover. We have a young kid at Liverpool called Jordan Ibe. If you were to come away after watching him for the first time you would probably guess he was Spanish or Brazilian, he moves that well.
"You want to keep that balance and fluidity in a player, not coach it out of them. You do need to work on tactical discipline, but you have to strike the right balance between coaching and over-coaching. The whole reason I got involved in coaching was because I felt British players were technically and tactically very strong but they weren't always given the support and confidence necessary to express themselves."