In late June of this year, as the European soccer Championships were being played, I published this blog post about one way England could help its chances of winning an international competition for the first time since 1966. My point? More England players need to play abroad rather than in the comfy, familiar confines of England.
It’s partly about learning a different style of play, different attitudes. But it’s also about adding other dimensions to your life, and learning how to deal with them on top of what you have to accomplish on the field of play. So many times during international tournaments it seems that the other, non-English teams have a decided psychological advantage, because so many of their players play abroad. Chileans play in England, Colombians play in Russia, and so forth.
Wow, let’s do it. Let’s play in the Bundesliga.
Well, here is the highly touted Oliver Burke of Scotland, who surprised the football world this summer when it was announced that he was joining RB Leipzig. This Daily Mail article is a wonderful read, just to hear this young man – all of 19 years old – explain how he wants to challenge himself. Such as:
- Getting first-team opportunities immediately against top teams like Dortmund and Bayern (rather than being yet another loaned-out youngster in the Chelski system)
- Putting the comforts of home aside and instead putting bigger value on the fact that a team truly wanted to integrate him into their play
- Being receptive to criticism in a new environment – in other words, being hungry for self-improvement
- Learning a new language
Nice! I’ll bet he’ll rise to success just as fast as Wales’ Gareth Bale.