Why England should walk tall on Tottenham’s high-energy spine | Barney Ronay

Dier, Winks and Alli made Real Madrid look old, so why not import them wholesale into the stodgiest England team in modern memory?

Few footballing figures have attracted such a solemnly tended mythology as Valeriy Lobanovskiy, the coach of Dynamo Kyiv and Ukraine in the late Soviet years. Wreathed in an ancient silence beneath his worker’s cap, Lobanovskiy was a monolithic presence during the TV coverage of the 1988 European Championship, appearing suddenly in Stalinist close-up, vast concrete jowls framing the screen, sphinx-like, eternal, as old as the steppes. He was, the internet reveals, only 49 at the time. But presumably being potent, eternal, all-seeing and so on takes it out of you.

Lobanovskiy is usually cast as the father of things. Father of analytics. Father of a data-driven total football. At times he has been portrayed as a piece of Soviet industrial-sporting machinery made flesh, players reduced to units of human value, blobs beeping away on the screen of his vast beige computer monitor.

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