Belfast Telegraph

Ian St John: English teams should match German flair

By Steven Beacom

Football great Ian St John believes more English teams should adopt the all-action style of German football or face the prospect of falling further behind the Bundesliga giants.

Often billed as the best in the world, the English Premier League had no teams in the quarter-finals of this season's Champions League, with two German sides involved in a thrilling decider as Bayern Munich defeated Borussia Dortmund.

Former Liverpool hero St John, who became a household name during Bill Shankly's reign at Anfield, enjoys watching the German style of play and believes it is more exciting than what is on offer in England's top domestic league won by Manchester United at a canter this season.

St John even suggests that some of the football played by the so-called best teams in England "puts you to sleep".

"Don't believe all the hype about this Premier League," says the Scot.

"At present you are not watching a great Manchester United side, yet they walked their way to the title, so what does that say about the rest of the sides?

"Manchester City are just a group of stars. They are not a team. You saw that in the FA Cup final against Wigan when they were a disgrace.

"Chelsea are a bit like Manchester City and I have to say that Rafa Benitez did very well with them. He was getting a lot of abuse from the fans but stuck at it and got them another European trophy this season winning the Europa League.

"The Champions League though is a far bigger competition and this year two German teams were in the final, and our sides disappeared out of the competition early on.

"The way the Premier League has gone, and Liverpool are included in this, is that most of the teams want to play the Barcelona way and pass it, pass it and pass it and keep the ball.

"The Germans keep the ball but they go forward when they are doing it. It's a bit like old-fashioned British football and they attack with pace, they have width with good wingers and they really go at people, whereas a lot of the teams in England pass it without going anywhere. It would put you to sleep at times!

"The best player in England last season was Gareth Bale who, like the German teams, is all about attacking. I'd love to see more players and sides in England adopt that style rather than just playing in front of defenders."

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