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Does Gary Neville Make A Valid Point?
Footytubeblog (Blog) 3 years ago
Gary Neville has pointed to the continued growth of the Premier League and the desire for instant success as the key players in the stagnating state of youth development in England.

It’s worth looking at broadcasters like Sky and the way it promotes big spending and blockbuster signings during the transfer window, all the while completely flying in the face of Financial Fair Play and leading the flock from England in the belief that longevity and building through youth is the equivalent of last orders on a big night out.

What came first, the chicken or the egg? Are English youngsters failing to get regular game time in the Premier League because collectively they’re not good enough, or is it because of the wealth of foreign stars currently plying their trade in England?

The FA had a plan that they assumed would fix the problem of England as perennial underachievers on the international stage, at all levels, by introducing the squad quota rule. It was probably with hope more than anything else that English youngsters would come good by throwing them in at the deep end, regardless of their training and football education prior.

But does the Premier League need those stars from the continent to legitimise its claim as the best football product in the world? Again, Sky do English football no favours by creating hysteria among supporters for something big. And that’s the problem: English football doesn’t have anything “big” to sell. It has a whole lot of average and maybe one or two very good, but nothing as yet that can rival the absolute best from Germany, Spain or Brazil. The cream will rise to the top, and that notion shouldn’t really be shaken. If you’re good enough you will play, with absolutely no regard for nationality.

But that’s what the FA are looking to rectify with English youngsters. It’s a plan that should complement the squad quota rule and help to define a player’s technical ability from a young age, rather than continuing to see the stark contrast in quality when the England youth teams head off for international tournaments and return home win less.

Yet even the very best on offer in English football can still find their path blocked to first-team football because patience is something that has long gone out the door. We, as a football nation, look on with envy at those coming through the academies of countries on the continent and in South America, and yet still maintain that buying is the only option for success.

The Champions League can be extremely counter-productive on this front. What if a club who wants to build slowly and patiently and does have the resources to build a strong squad largely of home grown players is fed the lie – because it is – that Champions League football is an absolute must if you want to get ahead. They splash out in the market and in turn block their own youngsters from regular first-team football in domestic competition. When the time comes for those young players to get game time, they’re completely ill-prepared and the project looks dead in the water.

I get the draw, appeal and everything else of the Champions League, but it’s not the be all and end all of football. The sooner that’s understood, the better off clubs will be both in financial terms and in developing their own players.

The continued changing of managers doesn’t help the matter either. Some are better suited to developing youngsters than others, but how many managers, prior to getting the job, are interviewed with questions about youth development – at least seriously? It’s about either getting into the Premier League or the Champions League and enjoying the revenue that follows. If it means spending as a means of some kind of investment, then so be it. The investment, for the majority, isn’t seen to be in their own system. For many clubs there isn’t a need to go into the youth academy because funds are almost always available.

Written by Thomas Hallett

This blog does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of footytube or its partners.

Honeybabymwah (Manchester United) 3 years ago
I genuinely believe that English lads are not good enough whatsoever at all. There are plenty of choices to make living in England and football is no more than hobby to younkers I'm afraid. Last couple of decades I haven't seen any group of boys coming to national team and being dominated in International football simply because lack of commitment and determination as they played for country
Ronaldojoy040 (New Orleans Jesters) 3 years ago
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