Deploying Your Schemer

I’m trying to move on from England’s disastrous World Cup. Please bear with me during this difficult time. Still stuck in the half-Nelson of despair, I was yesterday discussing formations and flexibility.

The second time England were ever humiliated was a double thrashing at the hands of Hungary. It seemed England learned nothing from that first embarrassment in Belo Horizonte, 1950 (despite apparently having virtually all of the play). The Magyars changed the game, inventing the sport as we now know it. They claim they were robbed of their deserved 1954 World Cup victory by the Germanic underhand.

It took a few years, but England adopted the winning tactics of our European foes. Chief among our adaptations involved the schemer.

Although I wasn’t around then, I understand this was a type of player that came in from the wing to instead operate in an arena I guess nowadays called ‘the hole’. It meant that England under Ramsay in ’66 could be “wingless wonders”, progressing at that time into a 4-4-2 formation.

Further evolution led to us for a decade embracing the libero come Italia 90. A Beckenbauer personification, this was an extra central defender in advance of the understood sweeper position that provided forward momentum with schemer-style grace.

England’s  game-changing schemer is surely Steven Gerrard. Yet somehow manager Fabio Capello contrived to play him far removed from any such role. Perhaps time to re-evaluate my thoughts on his philosophy and management?

It reminds me of sales situations I’ve been in where someone is ideally suited to a specific function (usually across several deals in fact) yet have been put in a hidden, secure pigeon-hole by the boss. Momentum either never gets going or is lost completely.

If there’s a schemer in your midst, cherish them, and let them shine.

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