Clive Woodward to manage England’s football team? I admit he is a fantastic coach, and maybe needs a new challenge. Just for a minute, let us suppose that he does get Sven’s job. What could Sir Clive expect?<br /><br />1. A whole new problem of ego management. So far, the England rugby team is generally a joy to manage. Where are the egos? Two of the best players, Wilkinson and Robinson, barely touch alcohol, and behave impeccably. The team generally avoid the star circuit. In terms of behaviour, the only England football player of recent years who can compare is Paul Scholes, and he has just retired.<br /><br />2. A Club vs Country nightmare. The Zurich Premiership rugby clubs took a long-term view that if England did well, they would reap the benefits later. They understood that players make their reputations on the international stage, and sacrificed their squads for the World Cup. Can you really see the big footie clubs doing that? The squad barely has any time for a proper get-together before internationals.<br /><br />3. Zero respect. Footie players generally respect other footballers, and their hobbies are football and birds. Let’s face it, it’s all they know. Hoddle was a joke after the Eileen Drury faith-healer situation. The players don’t mind Sven having a bit on the side, but they would laugh him out of the job if he brought in a Feng Shui expert to the team hotel. Clive likes to use things like a vision-coach. Any new methods could backfire horribly.<br /><br />4. Less intelligent raw material. Footballers run on fitness and instinct and being shouted at. Rugby players can memorise up to 200 different line-out calls. Need I say more?<br /><br />5. Rubbish injuries. Rugby players have to be dragged off the pitch. Most play with injuries that would sideline a footballer for months. If a footballer plays on with a bandage over a cut, he is a hero (c.f. Terry Butcher, Paul Ince). If a rugby player does, it’s a Saturday. Could Sir Clive really tolerate some limping tosser in an aliceband driving a Ferrari?<br /><br />If he can put up with all that, good luck to the man.
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