Barça Alusport head coach Marc Carmona has a good personal relationship with Everton manager Roberto Martínez, and this has resulted in the Premier League club sending a couple of members of their coaching staff to find out at first hand how the futsal section works here in Barcelona.
Alan Irvine is the Everton Academy Manager and has come to FC Barcelona to study the working methods from the very bottom right up to the first team. The idea is to learn how youngsters can improve their technical skills in tight spaces and take fast decisions – and then transfer these skills to conventional football. “I believe it will help them control the ball because the fact that they’re moving in smaller areas means they have to think faster and more accurately. It’ll also help them know how to protect the ball better”.
Although Everton has no plans to introduce futsal as part of the club, it is believed that the skills acquired will help their players improve on the pitch. Alan Irving told us: “Until last season, our youngsters played futsal once a month, but for this season we’ve decided to do it once a week because we believe our young players will improve”. “We intend to introduce futsal in our club to develop our players. In England, futsal isn’t played much. Our manager recommended us to speak to Marc Carmona and FC Barcelona to learn as much as possible about futsal. I believe we can transfer the tactics and the skills of futsal to conventional football”.
Irvine was very clear that playing futsal as a youngster improves skill levels. “My experience over the years is that Spanish and Brazilian players protect the ball better than the English. The English players commit more fouls because they don’t know how to protect the ball so well”.