The Croatian Head Coach will be joining up with England for this month's Tournament in Loughborough.
New England Futsal Head Coach Peter Sturgess is here with the latest edition of his regular column for TheFA.com, looking ahead to the Four Nations Tournament in Loughborough later this month.
I suppose it is just one of the ‘occupational hazards’ of the job but since my return from Caen, France, my only contact with the squad has been one training day and a few 'phone calls.
It’s hardly at the sharp end of tournament preparation. But I refuse to get demoralised, as I am planning for the four-team tournament that is taking place at Loughborough later this month.
The reason I am looking forward to the event is twofold.
Firstly, I want another chance to measure any development within the squad and secondly, I have invited Mico Martic (pictured left), the Head Coach of the Croatia national Futsal squad to work with myself and the squad for the duration of the tournament.
This arrangement is a tremendous opportunity for me, the rest of the staff and the players to learn from one of the best, as Mico’s reputation worldwide is of the highest calibre.
It is also hopefully going to be the start of a new phase of development for Futsal in this country. Mico was part of the technical group observing and collating data from the recent Futsal World Cup tournament in Brazil and his support during December is going to benefit the squad tremendously, as we all attempt to learn and understand more about this great game.
In order to make the most of this visit, a ‘Master Class’ for up-and-coming Futsal coaches has also been included as part of the tournament format, so please check the schedule for further details.
For now, the focus must be upon the squad. I have named a smaller squad than for the Caen tournament in an attempt to get greater consistency and continuity.
I am also aware that players need court time and this has not always been possible with a full squad. However, we have a final training get together on 14 December at Lilleshall and the players currently on stand-by, plus some new trialists who will be attending, have a chance to push their way into the squad if they turn in a performance that makes it very difficult for me to ignore.
This is what I am hoping for – a positive response and real competition for places. A place in the England Futsal squad must become the pinnacle for all Futsal players (I am not intimating that this was not the case before) and as such the competition for places must be fierce and the reward for great performances and attitude in both training and matches.
One positive aspect since taking the role of Head Coach with the team has been the number of players referred to me as potential squad members. My contacts within the game will hopefully produce a higher number of players who can play Futsal at the highest level and I am getting some interest now from the professional game.
This in itself might bring problems, as the demands of Futsal are different from the 11-a-side game. However, if players who have had a professional career begin to take an interest in Futsal, then I am sure it will be the start of something very exciting as news of this fast moving ‘indoor version’ that demands great technical, tactical and physical skills spreads to a wider audience.
In my next article, I am hoping to bring you news of a successful tournament and I will be happy to elaborate on my work with Mico.