Cruyff was the centre of the Netherlands most impressive team during the 1970’s, losing in the 1974 World Cup Final, before retiring just before the country lost in their second consecutive Final in 1978.
A club career that saw him win league titles with Ajax and Barcelona, as well as three consecutive European Cups with the Dutch giants, led him into management, where he oversaw the creation of Barcelona’s ‘Dream Team’, winning the Spanish club their first European Cup in 1992. Three time Ballon D’Or winner, Cruyff is commonly regarded as one of the greatest football players ever, and he is not quiet when it comes to giving his opinions on the state of current football matters.
Writing in his column in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, quoted on HLN.be, Cruyff has now expressed his disappointment with the standard of football in England, with few trainers working with young English talents.
He said: “If you only look at how many technical trainers work with Ajax, it is hard to believe that a football country like England to be so behind.”
England has often come under criticism for its lack of youth coaches in relation to fellow European countries - Germany have 28,400 to England’s 1,759 - and it appears as if the country that invented the game have forgotten that you need people to teach it. With a number of changes in youth football, it appears as if the talent at Under-19 level is on the rise, although it is still hard to see how any number of promising youngsters - such as Lewis Baker and Patrick Bamford at Chelsea - will ever break into the first-team of a Premier League giant.
Speaking on the subject, Cruyff - who made his debut for Ajax as a 17-year-old - said: “They should make mutual agreements that every club has at least five or six Englishmen play.
“Because England is a member of the EU, you cannot make it law, so clubs should look to come to a gentleman's agreement.”
A further criticism on the same subject is that English teams replace talented English youngsters with average foreigners, with the price of foreign talent usual lower. Not only does this damage the English game, but Cruyff feels as if it can also ruin the high quality youngsters being produced elsewhere, with too much pressure placed upon such young stars. Instead, he urges youngsters to remain in their home countries, under less pressure, until they feel they are mentally prepared to face the increased pressure.
“Most people are simply not ready mentally,” he added.
“It is most evident in European matches, with pressure creating problems.
“They should therefore build resistance in a more familiar environment.”