– Dan Fieldsend, the author of the best-selling book “The European Game” a book on the methods used by the top European clubs, visited by Dan, such as Paris Saint-Germain, Olympique Lyon, Athletic Bilbao, FC Porto, Benfica, Sporting Lisbon, Atletico de Madrid, Barcelona, Marseille, Juventus, AC Milan, Basel, FC Bayern, Austria Vienna, Red Bull Salzburg, Dortmund, PSV, Feyenoord, Ajax…
DF: “Primarily, now we’ve got to this point in football where it’s very close to everyone having similar access to methods and things being done the same elsewhere. The differences I found where more close, you know, more local than they were transnational. For example, Ajax and Feynord are so polar opposite and I think they are because of each other. It’s like syntax and semantics identity, you know. They’ll try and be different to those next to them. So Ajax, for example, will develop youngsters in 1v1 to 2v2s, Feyenoord focus on the team. So Ajax, if we go back to them, they train the kids with smaller balls, for each age we’re Feyenoord there’s only one ball, and the play kids with that with the size five. So it’s interesting how identity, and close local identities, was more of a difference than national.
Obviously, there were difference in methods in each country. But you, being Portuguese, it’s interesting. You’ve been like the genesis… a lot of tactical periodization, which began in Portugal, slowly began to spread.
I was speaking with guys in France and he was talking about Drogba, when he went to Chelsea. This was as early as 2004, was it? 2005 he went there and he turns up to train with a pair of shoes. And Mourinho was like: what do you got them for? We don’t run. Everything we do was with the ball and tailor for the ball.
So, I’d suppose, yes, the differences do exist. They originally from the south. They’ve gone to Spain, and they’ve gone through. But now football being as communicative as it is, and the way of being as small as it is, methods are more shared now.”