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Ramos League Cup triumph with Tottenham underlines overseas dominance of English soccer

Ramos League Cup triumph with Tottenham underlines overseas dominance of English soccer

Another foreign coach wins an English title, while homegrown managers continue to flounder in their own country.
Take a look at what happened this weekend in English soccer:
_ Tottenham's Juande Ramos, a Spaniard only four months into English soccer, captured the League Cup at Wembley.
_ Kevin Keegan, a former England coach brought back to revive ailing Newcastle, surveyed the wreckage of a 5-1 home defeat to Manchester United and the increasing fear of relegation.
_ Alex Ferguson, a Scot in charge of Man United, moved within three points of Frenchman Arsene Wenger at Arsenal in the Premier League title race.
_ At the bottom of the standings, three Englishmen are favorites for relegation with Derby, Fulham and Reading. Four others are in danger at Bolton, Wigan, Newcastle and Middlesbrough.
While Tottenham fans cheer their team's first title success in nine years, the fact that Ramos won it for them so soon after arriving in English soccer means more gloom for homegrown talent _ or lack of it.
No English manager has won the league title since Howard Wilkinson with Leeds in 1992, and that was before the championship changed its identity to the Premier League. Since then, Ferguson has won the title nine times, Wenger three, Chelsea's Portuguese former manager Jose Mourinho twice and another Scot, Kenny Dalglish, did it once with Blackburn.
No Englishman will win it this season either.
Arsenal and Manchester United are favorites and Chelsea, with Israeli coach Avram Grant now in charge, is the nearest to them. Then come Liverpool, whose manager Rafa Benitez is a Spaniard, Everton (Scotsman David Moyes) and Aston Villa (Northern Irishman Martin O'Neill).
The nearest Englishman in the standings is Portsmouth's Harry Redknapp, whose team is seventh and 20 points behind Arsenal.
Taking a look at the list of FA Cup winners, no Englishman has won soccer's oldest and most famous domestic cup competition since Everton's Joe Royle in 1995. Although Redknapp and five other Englishmen from the lower leagues have made it to the last eight this season, the odds are the title will go to Manchester United or Chelsea.
Ramos, who guided Spanish club Sevilla to back-to-back UEFA Cup triumphs, took over at Tottenham from a Dutch coach, Martin Jol, who guided Spurs to two fifth-place finishes before a slump in the early part of this season.
"To come in after a few months and win a trophy is an incredible achievement," said Tottenham striker Robbie Keane. "He's also done it at Sevilla in a short space of time also so certainly not a fluke. He's given us the belief that we can win every game and you can see that in our performances since he took over."
The backup coaching teams at the most successful clubs aren't exactly packed with Englishmen either.
Wenger has had former Northern Ireland defender Pat Rice as his assistant since arriving at Arsenal in 1996. Ferguson has a Portuguese, Carlos Queiroz, as his No. 2; Grant has a Scot, Steve Clarke; and Liverpool's Benitez has fellow Spaniard Pako Ayestaran.
Ramos' assistant is Gus Poyet, a former Uruguayan international who played for Spurs after leaving Chelsea.
England's national team now has Fabio Capello in charge and he has four fellow Italians alongside him together with Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce. When he goes to Premier League games next season, Capello likely will be sitting alongside Ireland's new Italian coach Giovanni Trapattoni, whose top players are based in England.
So what is it that these hugely successful overseas coaches do that the Englishman don't?
Ramos has been praised for making the players fitter and improving their diet but he has also restored confidence. Wenger transformed Arsenal from a dour, pragmatic team into one of the most entertainingly skillful in the game.
Ferguson, who has won 20 trophies in 21 seasons at Old Trafford, instilled a winning mentality into Manchester United as well as blending young, homegrown talent with big overseas stars. While Benitez has struggled to bring league title success to Liverpool, he is a master of achieving triumphs in Europe. He led Valencia to the 2004 UEFA Cup and the Reds to the 2005 Champions League and two finals in three seasons.
During his time at Chelsea, Mourinho led the club to its first league title in 50 years and followed it up with another championship, an FA Cup and two League Cups. Grant has reached a final in his first season and Chelsea is going strong in the FA Cup, Champions League and Premier League.
Compare that with the achievements of the English coaches.
Steve McClaren's League Cup success with Middlesbrough in 2004 is all they have to offer. He is out of a job after his spell as England coach showed up his failings.
The nine currently in charge of English clubs don't have a single major trophy either in England or in European competitions, although Fulham's Roy Hodgson has won domestic leagues in Sweden and Denmark.
Maybe it's the language.
Ramos conducts all his media interviews in Spanish because his command of English is not yet good enough.
Asked on live TV to express his joy at Tottenham's League Cup triumph on Sunday, he managed a few words of English for the cameras.
It was faltering. Rather like the English coaches.
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Robert Millward is the AP's Soccer Writer. Write to him at rmillward@ap.org


Updated : 2021-06-24 04:39 GMT+08:00