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Barnes: English culture to blame for football failures

10 June 2013 13:40

Former England winger John Barnes insists a culture change is needed if they are to become capable of challenging for international honours.

The state of English football is again in the spotlight after the country's Under-21 side crashed out of the European Under-21 Championship in Israel on Saturday after a 3-1 defeat against Norway.

That followed a 1-0 loss against Italy in the opening group game and there is now speculation regarding the future of coach Stuart Pearce.

Despite the Premier League often being lauded as one of the most entertaining and competitive leagues, England's national sides continually under-perform at major tournaments at senior level.

Former England international Barnes is worried that not enough is being done to address the problems currently being faced by the Football Association, who opened a new centre of excellence at St George's Park in October.

It is hoped that substantial investment in the state-of-the-art facilities in Staffordshire will have a big impact on the quality of players being produced, but Barnes has issued a note of caution.

Barnes told talkSPORT: "St George's Park and the infrastructure and the money they have spent has nothing to do with addressing the problem.

"It has to do with the philosophy.

"You don't need a St George's Park to change the philosophy, you can do that in an open park.

"It is the culture we have to change, nothing to do with spending 50 million pounds on a structure."

Reacting to England's exit from the European Under-21 Championship, Barnes said: "We are not even producing enough players for the senior side, never mind the Under-21s.

"If we played our best players from the Under-21s, I still don't think we would be good enough to win the Under-21 championship.

"The players aren't there. They are not good enough.

"We still like this old British mentality of up-and-at them, get stuck in, because we are not comfortable keeping the ball if it is seemingly going nowhere.

"Spain don't keep the ball just for the sake of it, but in England we have this attitude that, if you are keeping the ball for 20 passes without getting over the halfway line, they are doing it for no reason.

"We have to change our philosophy and our mentality."

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