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Alan Hansen
"Everyone knows that it's the players that aren't good enough."
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Saturday, 24 June, 2000, 10:06 GMT 11:06 UK
Hansen: Keown is wrong
Alan Hansen
Hansen says technical ability, not tactics, is the key
BBC pundit Alan Hansen has criticised Martin Keown for blaming England's Euro 2000 exit on coach Kevin Keegan's tactics.

Arsenal defender Keown, who played in all three of England's group games, said it was tactical ineptitude and not the ability of the players that was at fault.

But, speaking on Radio 5 Live, Hansen said: "Martin Keown is turning round and blaming Keegan for the tactics when clearly everyone knows that it's the players that aren't good enough."

"You can talk about any system you want, but if you haven't got the players then it doesn't matter what system you play.

"Systems can help you, but if you took the England players who took part in those three games and got the best coach in the world to work with them for a year, it wouldn't have made any difference."

Possession

The former Liverpool captain and defensive lynchpin said: "At the highest level it's all about technical ability - passing the ball, being comfortable on the ball, holding the ball.



If you took the England players who took part in those three games and got the best coach in the world to work with them for a year, it wouldn't have made any difference

Alan Hansen
"To be a good passing side you need eight, nine, 10 players who are comfortable in possession, good on the left side, good on the right.

"The best thing a player can have at international level is the ability to be very good on either side of the pitch, and only Paul Scholes has that for England, which tells its own story.

"The Romanians, for example, are technically superb. They can all play, they can win the ball back and keep it. England just can't do it - they've never been able to do it.


Martin Keown
Keown: defended England's players
"When English teams were dominating Europe between 1977 and 1984, they were streets ahead in terms of team spirit, grit, determinaton and resolve.

"Now the continentals have caught up, and where we've been left badly behind is in terms of technical ability."

Hansen added: "It's no longer a case of defenders just needing to defend, they need to be able to play. Midfielders must be be able to get up and down, score goals and play as well.

"Centre forwards need to come back into the middle of the park. Everybody needs to be multi-purpose, and other teams have got that but England haven't."

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See also:

23 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Keown issues 'inept' jibe
23 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Look to future, O'Neill urges England
23 Jun 00 | England
Travel is Leboeuf's England cure
22 Jun 00 | England
FA gives backing to Keegan
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