Roeder: We are lacking intelligence

PUBLISHED: 06:30 11 March 2008 | UPDATED: 15:27 10 September 2010

English footballers lack the intelligence of their European counterparts, according to Glenn Roeder. The Canaries manager claims players can only perform in the role they are taught to play in, and that otherwise they are like "fish on skates - clueless".

English footballers lack the intelligence of their European counterparts, according to Glenn Roeder.

The Canaries manager claims players can only perform in the role they are taught to play in, and that otherwise they are like "fish on skates - clueless".

"The majority of players are not football intelligent and you can only play them in their best role," said Roeder.

"That's a fact, you have to be honest - they just don't have football intelligence and English players struggle against European players.

"Paolo Di Canio, one of the best players I have ever worked with, he knew every single role. He could have played in goal - he wouldn't have done very well but he would always have been in the right position. He would have been a fantastic sweeper or right back. Gazza's the same.

"It is a rare quality to be football intelligent. The majority of footballers are not like that, English footballers. They learn one role and they get by playing one role. Put them in another role and they have got no idea how to play it."

Roeder said that lack of knowledge was partly to blame for City's defeat at Coventry on Saturday when they failed to properly implement a playing system which forced major tactical switches inside the opening half an hour.

"That is why I was very disappointed on Saturday, that we changed to match them up three in midfield, and we didn't adapt," he said.

"That was one of the biggest problems, we did not adapt to playing a slightly different role. It wasn't mind blowing; a flat back four, three in midfield to match them up, two wide players playing high up against their full-backs, one striker playing no more than not even the width of the 18-yard box, but we didn't adapt, and I find that disappointing, but I have to accept that is what I have got at the moment."

The biggest individual loser on Saturday was Spanish right-back Juan Velasco, who was substituted just 21 minutes into only his second start for City.

"He got caught on the rebound really of a second game quickly after not playing first team football for eight months or so," explained Roeder.

"But the ironic thing is we had a training session on Thursday and he looked the one that was the freshest of them all out there.

"I just thought Saturday in that opening period he looked so tired so quickly and of course the goal came from that side and they could have scored again from that side as well just after we conceded.

"I am the manager, I am paid to make decisions and it's not nice being brought off so early in the game, but so be it."

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