The English football team have a problem and everyone knows it. After a string of disappointing results, many fans are beginning to lose faith that their team will ever come out on top again. Happily, Labour’s Stella Creasy thinks she has got to the bottom of what’s going wrong for our boys.
The issue? Too many of the players attended private school. Yes, the Labour MP suggested this in the Commons today in debate on education and social mobility. Her comments came after John Redwood said it was fair that ‘elite sportspeople are selected at young age for special training’. In response to Redwood, Creasy argued that they were missing out on talent from comprehensives — and suggested this could ‘account for the performance of our national football team’:
‘Thirteen per cent of our national football team went to a private school, which is double the number of people who go to those private schools nationally.
Does he think that might account for the performance of our national football team, if we’re missing out on the talent that exists in the comprehensive sector?
And will he recognise that that is precisely the problem that we’re looking at today? We’re missing out on talent as a result of too narrow a focus.’
However a look at the England team that played Spain last week and not one player attended a UK private school. Redwood, too, failed to see her point:
‘I don’t think we are going to get a better team by training them less, and no longer giving them any kind of elite education.’
And what type of school did Creasy go to? Well, the Labour MP — who is thought to have aristocratic relations on her mother’s side — failed her 11-plus but then managed to get into a girls’ grammar school after her family moved house.
Mr S suspects the ‘problems’ Creasy claims to have uncovered in the England football team, can also be found within her own party.
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