The squads for the World Cup have now been picked, with almost every manager trying to find the right balance between skill and experience.
It’s the time that every international manager dreads as for every smiling face, an equally unhappy player will be forced to respect the decision that they won’t be a part of football’s showpiece event.
A similar situation occurs with virtually every squad, as the sheer number of talented players means that several are always likely to miss out:
Picking youth over experience:
It isn’t to say that these pickings reflect negatively on the players concerned either.
Take England full-back Ashley Cole for example, arguably the best left-back to ever pull on a Three Lions’ jersey. He remains a player capable of performing at the highest level despite his age, yet his relative lack of football in the past campaign has seen him overtaken in the pecking order. Teenage prodigy Luke Shaw has exploded onto the scene and the Southampton youngster is rightfully deserving of a spot in England’s 23-man squad on the back of an excellent season.
Yet the argument revolves around experience on the big stage: Shaw lacks it obviously but it’s a true catch 22 situation – how do you gain experience of a World Cup if you’re sat at home watching it from the sofa or from a beach in Dubai?
It’s a similar situation when recruiting, and it really highlights the tough decisions that need to be made between picking between youth and experience.
Enabling people to fulfil their potential:
Should Shaw go on to fulfil the tremendous potential that he possesses, Roy Hodgson’s selection will be entirely vindicated.
Another new talent to burst onto the England seen is Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling – he’s young, fearless and has taken virtually everything in his stride this season. While his rise is similar to that of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the past, nurturing the talent on offer could be the key if England are to taste success in Brazil.
These types of footballers need support throughout their development to reach their true potential; in the same way that help and guidance are required by virtually everyone stepping into a new job role.
Adopting the right approach:
At the same time there’s a need to use the players in the right way – Liverpool’s success came as a result of a certain system, and a similar approach could help England. Flair players like Sterling and Adam Lallana have the ability to carve open defences and create chances, but only if the team plays in a way that enables them to do so. Fitting players into positions that suit their styles will ultimately bring about success – after all, a self-respecting manager wouldn’t choose to play a centre forward at left-back as it would be wasting their ability in front of goal.
The same occurs in recruitment, whereby those with the necessary skills fit seamlessly into job openings on the basis that they have the required abilities to do so.
Rewarding star performers:
Star performers from the regular season are those who are worthy of a starting berth, as they have consistently proved that they are up to the task. Belgian starlet Eden Hazard will lead their charge for glory, while Portugal’s hopes will inevitably lie on Cristiano Ronaldo’s shoulders.
The need for star players is perhaps highlighted by Colombia more than most though – given their efforts to get Monaco hit man Radamel Falcao fit in time for the competition. He is one of the game’s best finishers and will transform the side should he recover from injury – highlighting how some key players can just not be left behind.
Each country has its stars, in the same way that each office has its technicians and leaders that ensure business success.
Using experienced heads wisely:
Incorporating new talent into sides occurs at virtually every World Cup, as it is a way of helping players to realise what the competition is all about.
However, it’s equally important to have experienced heads around them and this is why it’s possible to justify the inclusion of someone like Frank Lampard in this summer’s squad. While he has not played regularly for Chelsea, he still has the ability and the experience that means he can act as a guide and mentor to others in the squad. Essentially, it should mean there are players who know what pressure is like in big competitions and who are able to ensure that everybody remains focused during their time in Brazil.
View the situation in a similar vein to one of a small team in an office who all report to a superior – without that leader, the business would run in an entirely different fashion (and probably not for the better).
Finding the right balance:
As previously mentioned, creating a winning team is all about finding the right balance between attack and defence; youth and experience.
This means that a starting 11 will have a mix of skills and abilities and anyone entering the game as a substitute will have something a little different – that game-changing bit of skill that is capable of unlocking even the meanest of defences.
It’s a situation that is commonplace in many office blocks and workplaces around the world, as employers look to create teams of people that are capable of meeting all the needs of a business. Those little pieces of flair can lead to the ideas and concepts that can propel company growth and success.
Handling the pressure
While a certain amount of pressure will be placed on England’s shoulders at the World Cup, it is nothing compared to the level of pressure that the Brazil squad will face. Luiz Filipe Scolari’s men face the daunting prospect of a demanding home crowd and will be all too aware of the wave of optimism currently sweeping the nation.
Star players like Neymar and Oscar are still relatively young, yet they have a wealth of experience on the international scene. Whether they can handle the significant expectations will remain to be seen, but on ability alone there are several players in the squad capable of leading them to glory. They will potentially need to overcome at least one, if not more of the world’s very best sides to become champions. Deposing of sides such as reigning champions Spain or Germany, Holland or Argentina will be no easy task.
In business, the situation is exactly the same – in order to be the best, you have to beat the best!
Author: Satnam Brar is Managing Director of Maximus IT. Maximus is an Oracle Gold Partner which specialises in recruitment in the ERP, CRM & Database sectors, specifically ORACLE, MS Dynamics, Salesforce.com and SAP.