Rayburn Reviews is our brand new series of blogs where we cover topical issues in sport, music and education alongside our internal experts from within their departments. In the first edition of Rayburn Reviews, we have none other than our number one quiz participant, Andrew Rose.
When speaking with Andrew on Friday, we covered a range of topics including Cristiano Ronaldo, the Nations League Final and the failures of the England team.
Our chat began with a discussion about Cristiano. Following his hat-trick against Switzerland last week, he continues to defy odds at the grand old age of 34. Andrew described him as a big game player and clear match winner. More importantly, he’s had the ability to adapt his game over time to suit his age and attributes which has allowed him to remain at the top for so long.
Gone is the young, skilful Ronaldo that often did too much at crucial points within games. Andrew says that he owes this grounding and development to the time he spent at Manchester United with Sir Alex Ferguson. He feels that Ronaldo learnt when to employ his vast range of skills so they became effective at critical points. This growth came from being part of an environment full of seasoned professionals and natural winners.
Then came his development into a striker. Becoming lethal within the penalty box is another testament to how his game has changed over time. The electric runs down the wings no longer lend themselves to his physical makeup; therefore forcing him to reserve energy and become vital in other aspects within the game.
‘’Not only is he one of the best players in the world, he’s become one of the best strikers in the world.’’
We spoke of his status as one of the best athletes within world sport, but agreed his physical transformation wouldn’t have been possible without extreme dedication to the cause. I then posed the question to Andrew of how long he will continue to operate at the very top. Andrew believed his dominance was far from over, stating he had 3-4 years left in the tank.
The Nations League Final
The challenge of Ronaldo vs the incredible partnership in the defence of the Netherlands made this debate a tough one. Before Sunday’s game we predicted Ronaldo to cause the Netherlands problems, but this wasn’t the case. Van Dijk appeared to keep the big man quiet in what ended up as a close affair between the two sides in a 1-0 victory for the Portuguese.
We were also off the mark when it came to Frenkie De Jong’s role within the game. Predicting another masterclass display, similar to his performance against England, we hoped he would shine once more…sadly he did not.
Although Andrew was wrong on the technicalities of how the game would progress, he did predict a Portuguese victory, adding that the home advantage would play in their favour.
The discussion of midfield maestro Frenkie De Jong led us swiftly on to England’s midfield problems.
Playing from the back appeared to be the stumbling block in England’s 3-1 defeat last week, but Andrew believed the problems lied in areas away from England’s defence.
‘’As a previous coach of academy football with Derby County, I understand why England place importance on playing from the back. Although the player on the ball often gets the blame for when things go wrong, movement ahead of the ball is needed to provide options which England didn’t do.’’
Andrew is adamant that this style of play is definitely the way England should continue to play, but without midfield players capable of honing that style, the task will continue to be difficult.
‘’For me, the biggest problem England face is The Premier League where clubs require instant success. The clubs opt for experienced and perceived proven foreign talent over young English prospects. The successful players at youth level therefore run the risk of not playing enough games within the league.’’
“If you’re comparing Phil Foden to Frenkie De Jong, who is already playing a wealth of games at club and international level, our young English players are not gaining enough exposure to testing environments which encourage growth and development.”
With regards to how far away we are from challenging at a big tournament, Andrew feels our midfield problem will continue to hold us back. If Premiership teams continue to opt for foreign talent over the English prospects we already have within clubs, the success we experience at international level may continue to be disappointing.
Andrew began his coaching career at grass roots level before working for a coaching company, specialising in after school clubs and lunch time sessions. After completing both his level 1 and level 2 qualifications, he then moved to the pre-academy at Derby where he was the head of the development centres for a number of years. He then completed his B license with the club during his 8 year stint with the Rams.
Family commitments meant that Andrew had to take a step back from coaching, he then searched for the next step in his career where he could still satisfy his passion for sport. He found us at Rayburn tours where he now operates as one of our Ski and Sports Tour Consultants. After the growth and development during his time within football, he thought it was time to embrace a new challenge in a different role and see how the skills he had learnt could be transferred to a different environment.
When asked if he would ever return to coaching, he couldn’t shut the door on that thought and will see what pathway his young daughters choose to take. In the meantime, he continues to fulfil his love of sport by operating ad hoc sessions, recently helping our Senior Tour Co-ordinator Asha who works with a local grass roots side.