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La Academia News

Why should English footballers learn a foreign language?

Posted on : March 22, 2015

There are concerns that the influx of foreign footballers, especially into the Premier League, is diluting the opportunities available to British players. Flush with TV money, managers are able to buy experienced, older players, which limits the chances of youngsters from their own academies making the step up into the first team. When the stakes are so high, and relegation can mean tens of millions of pounds lost, managers are reluctant to try a home-grown 21 year-old when they can buy in a fully-fledged 25-year old international.

So, where next for our talented young footballers? Maybe overseas, according to Richard Williams in Friday’s Guardian. Profiling Patrick Bamford, the talented 21-year old Chelsea striker who is on loan to Middlesbrough, Williams revealed the young man is learning Spanish, perhaps with a view to trying his luck in Spain if he is not recalled to Chelsea next season.

Learning a foreign language can be seen as an essential part of making a successful career overseas. From our own experience of helping overseas footballers to settle in the UK, la Academia appreciates that learning the language quickly can help players, coaches and their families to make a successful transition. Past experience of British players who moved abroad shows that those who made the effort to learn the language of their host country enjoyed better relations with the local press – an essential part of being accepted and even loved.

Williams points to the case of Gareth Bale, who remains unappreciated by Real Madrid fans, despite having scored some crucial goals since his transfer, but does not make the connection to Bale’s poor language skills. Bale admitted in November that he was fluent “in swear words” and that he can understand the team talk “as long as the manager doesn’t talk too quickly”. This is probably insufficient to charm the Spanish media, and is perhaps at the root of the recent feeling that he is unloved by fans despite his major contribution to their success including achieving “la Decima” – a tenth European Cup.

When living in a foreign country, you have to make the effort, put in the time and learn the language. The more you know, the more you can relax and enjoy your new life.

Are you thinking of working abroad? Or do you have overseas colleagues or friends who would enjoy life in the UK more if they knew more English? In our language school or at your home or place of work la Academia can help – contact us today!

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