England expects: Life within the England Futsal Team with Manchester Futsal Club captain Doug Reed
Following his performances at the 4 Nations International Tournament at Loughborough in December 2008, we talk to Manchester Futsal Club captain and England International Doug Reed about his experiences in futsal thus far and the season ahead in the FA Futsal Conference.
You were recently involved with the England squad in the 4 Nations Tournament, how have you found the step-up to international futsal and the national team environment?
It is the highest level I have played at but I havenít found the step up too great. Of course every player at this level is technically very good so you always have to be alert. The national set up is excellent and all the England staff look after us really well to ensure we can perform at our best. Overall I would say it has been an amazing experience and I have really enjoyed it.
How did you get to be part of the current England Futsal squad under the guidance of Peter Sturgess?
Last year I played in the national league with Manchester and from there I earned a trial where I went to a training session at Lilleshall. From this I received a place in the F30 squad which is basically a training squad from which the national team is selected.
What were the highlights and learning points that you took from these international fixtures and your international career so far?
I wouldnít say the highlight is anything specific but the overall opportunity to be able play futsal every day for a few days is brilliant. Most teams have a good defence so the games are often very close for long periods but I have learnt that you have to be constantly sharp, otherwise games can run away from you very quickly.
The tournament demonstrated some clear improvements for England against some experienced futsal nations, what do you see as the main difference between how the team performed in Loughborough in comparison to Caen?
I think in the first game in Caen against Holland there were some good aspects to our performance. However against France the next day we let ourselves down. At Loughborough after playing well against the Irish in the first game Peter stressed the need for consistency. Although we didnít win either of our two remaining games both were very close against two experienced nations so I think our consistency has improved. Also in Caen there were many uncapped players, like myself, but I think we have now got more familiar with each other and this has been reflected in our performance on the pitch.
The 4 Nations tournament saw Croatian National Team Coach and former player Mico Martic join the England coaching staff. What impact did Mico have on and off the court and what did you gain from his insight into international futsal?
Micoís knowledge of the game is outstanding and as we are an inexperienced nation at futsal his input was very valuable. Working alongside the manager he was able to continue the development of our defending and attacking strategies so we would be more effective. His approach is very similar to Peters, as they are both very calm which translates to the players. He was also a really nice person and always willing to give advice to help us improve.
Your sights must be clearly set on the upcoming UEFA Futsal Championship qualifiers in Ireland in February, how do you think England will do and what are your personal targets?
I think England can do very well. We have showed a lot of progress under the new manager and have come very close to getting a victory. We have showed we can compete with some very experienced nations and I think with these qualifiers England can make the next step in turning competing into results. My immediate personal target is to demonstrate I can be a valuable player to the England team and earn a place in the squad for these matches.
The FA National League gets underway again in February as well, as captain of the team what can we expect from Manchester Futsal Club in 2009?
We have added a lot of new players this year who have lots of potential, this will help as last year we were a bit short in squad depth. Along with last years players we are all learning the game so I think the key for us is to try and utilise Rodrigoís knowledge and transfer it onto the pitch. We have to be patient but if we can do this then Iím confident we can be successful.
Who do you think the teams to watch out for this season are?
Nationally I think the teams to watch out for will be same; Ipswich Wolves, Helvecia, White Bear and Birmingham Tigers, as they all have players who have played futsal for years. I think the North League will be stronger as everyone will have improved having the experience of last year plus the addition of Preston who have a very strong squad.
What are your future aspirations for your futsal career and Manchester Futsal Club?
My aspirations for Manchester Futsal Club are that in the future we will be able to compete for the national trophies. I think this would be good for English Futsal as our team consists of mainly English players. As for my personal goals I would certainly like to remain in the England squad in the future as I have really enjoyed being part of the setup. Other than that I am focussing on improving as a futsal player, through utilising what I have learned from working with Pete Sturgess, Steve Gallen, Mico Martic and Rodrigo, and I will see what happens as a result of that.
Doug Reed in action vs Libya (Photo courtesy: Manchester Futsal Club - The FA)
Doug Reed, captain of Manchester Futsal Club in action vs Libya (Photo courtesy: Manchester Futsal Club)
Doug Reed wearing the England shirt (Photo courtesy: Manchester Futsal Club - The FA)