Waddle: Keeping the ball better is key to a brighter England future
CHRIS Waddle does not believe England's weakness at retaining possession will ever be resolved until attitudes towards children's football changes radically.
Although Roy Hodgson declared himself satisfied with a 1-1 draw against France that was well received by supporters and media alike, UEFA's own statistics told a staggering story.
Fifteen efforts on target to one in favour of the French, who completed in excess of 600 passes compared to England's 307.
Little wonder Scott Parker and James Milner looked exhausted as Hodgson's midfield raced around in searing temperatures to deny France the room to exhibit their talents.
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Yet such tactics, while fine against a team that has now extended its unbeaten run to 22 games, do not seem sustainable over the period of a six-game competition, which explains why any optimism around the England camp is being kept within a manageable framework.
Waddle is particularly agitated at the English failings in possession.
However, he does acknowledge the problem goes far deeper than one match under a new national manager.
Speaking at a fan event organised by England sponsors Vauxhall, the 62-time capped former international said: "We are not patient enough. It is not just the players, it is the fans. When you get the ball into a certain area, they expect you to get it into the box, not check back and keep it.
"You are talking about educating an entire country, kids, coaches, fans and players. Until that happens, nothing will change."
Waddle was present in the Donbass Arena on Monday night to witness England's battling display.
He knew, as did everyone present, that France looked more comfortable in possession, more willing to simply keep it rather than look for an opening at every opportunity.
"Our conveyor belt stopped after 1990," he said.
"We had players who could get hold of a football and do something with it. Now we are relying on Wayne Rooney (pictured). Where are the rest?"
It is only last month that the Football Association introduced new rules for junior football aimed at improving standards.
From the start of 2013-14, youth matches will be played with fewer players, on shorter pitches, with smaller goals over less time, a combination it is hoped will allow youngsters to develop their techniques.
Waddle is not convinced of their merits, mainly because the fundamental problem, he believes, that of a desire to win over any other consideration, is not being addressed.
"You have to let the kids play, let them control the ball, dribble it, pass it. It is about having good habits," he said. "Unfortunately, parents are not interested. They just want to win. So much money has been spent on academies but I would get rid of them. Let the kids play with their mates and stop them from going to a club until they are 13."