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26th May 2017

Here’s what Gary Lineker wants to see happen in football next season

Gary Lineker

Premier League

I would like to see our teams get stronger. We have been through a period in which some of our biggest clubs have been in transition and that has shown in European competition where we have fallen a little off the pace. There is a need for us to become more competitive at that level and that means better players are required. That isn’t easy because the very best players tend to gravitate towards Real Madrid and Barcelona but there are enough good players around and the Premier League clubs have enough money for us to be doing better than we have been.

FA Cup

One of my big bug bears is clubs who field weakened teams in the FA Cup even though they’re not involved in the title race or in Europe. Is it really asking too much for those clubs to put all of their available playing resources into the FA Cup in the hope that it could lead to glory? I’ve heard all of the arguments about rotation and I think the way some managers now talk about tiredness exceeds the reality.


To keep on developing and improving a group of young players which is the strongest that has been available to us for several years. It now appears that we are teaching our youngsters the right way and the evidence of that can be found in the emergence of the likes of Marcus Rashford, Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and others, but the crucial thing now is to give them the opportunities and the conditions to allow them to be as good as they possibly can be. This is our best crop since the ‘Golden Generation’ and, ideally, we need them to achieve more than those players were able to.

English managers

Sorry Bournemouth fans, but I would like to see Eddie Howe get an opportunity to manage one of our bigger clubs. I know there is an ongoing argument that English managers don’t always get opportunities further up the ladder but I think some of them manage in a fairly old fashioned English way which is only going to take you so far. Howe seems a bit different and his approach would be as applicable towards the top of the table as it is towards the bottom so it would be good for him and also for English football if one of our brightest coaches was given a chance to show what he can do at a bigger club.

Football Fans

No change required. Whether it’s filling our stadiums, creating an atmosphere or supporting their teams passionately, we are blessed to have some of the best football fans in the world in this country. The more that we can do to make it as easy as possible for them to be at their best every week the better it will be for English football.

Hope for next season

Simple –  for England to win the World Cup in Russia. It’s a massive ask but there’s nothing wrong with aspiring to be the best.

The Laws of the game

I want to see us rid the game of the pomposity that has made the game resistant to change for far too long. The technology exists to make the game better so let’s use it.

Safe standing

This is something that needs to be looked at because it has clearly been beneficial to the atmosphere at certain European clubs but, and this is absolutely crucial, it is something that we should only pursue in this country if it is 100% safe. As important as atmosphere is, we can’t take any risks with safety.

Lower league clubs

I’ve argued for some time that we need an umbrella group to look after the interests of everyone in professional football. As it stands, we have the Football Association, the Premier League and the Football League and that inevitably leads to separation and conflict.

Gary Lineker presents the FA Cup Final 2017: Chelsea v Arsenal live on BBC One with build-up from 16:15 and kick off at 17:30.