Premier League makes first move to help FA improve English talent

Development follows Greg Dyke's speech on the national team

The Premier League has taken its first steps to help produce better England players following Football Association chairman Greg Dyke's impassioned appeal last week by making its Under-21 League more competitive with promotion and relegation.

The FA also announced today that Premier League clubs have agreed to take part in the Football Association Commission being set up by Dyke to help improve the development of English players. This follows growing concerns that academy football is producing an uncompetitive national team, a fear expressed today by the Everton manager, Roberto Martinez, who said that unlike in his native Spain, English academies – where 95 per cent of players are local – produced cosseted footballers too often sheltered from the consequences of defeat.

Now, from next season the Premier League's Under-21 division will be split into two. The top dozen clubs will go into a first division while the bottom 10, plus two category C academies, will form the second tier. The move, which is specifically designed to help improve the fortunes of the England team, was agreed at a meeting of the Premier League's shareholders who were addressed by the FA.

None of those present would have been aware of Martinez's comments, but he stressed how young Spanish footballers are weaned in clubs' B teams, playing in La Liga's equivalent of the Championship and League One.

This, he insisted, produced tougher, better footballers at a younger age. Spain have won the last two European Under-21 championships while England did not win a game at this summer's tournament or the Under-20 World Cup.

"What they have is a programme that develops men at the age of 18-21," said Martinez, who began his playing career with Real Zaragoza B. "Up to the age of 18 England are the best in the world but then they become over-protected."

Speaking before the FA's announcement, he added: "In the under-21s [at club level] you don't learn to get promoted or relegated, you don't learn that you can cost people their jobs. It is not a real environment."

As for idea of clubs' B teams playing in the Football League he went on: "Can you imagine playing at [Spanish] Championship level having to win games to try to get promotion and avoid relegation? You know what it means to play against men."

Martinez does not anticipate Manchester United's Under-21 team being allowed to compete with Derby and Middlesbrough in the way that Barcelona B and Real Madrid B play Zaragoza and Deportivo La Coruna in their second division.

"But you could have feeder teams," he said. "Accrington, for example, could have 10 players from Everton. Financially, there are many teams in League One and League Two who are having problems and it wouldn't be a bad thing for them."

Martinez compared two of Everton's young players. Luke Garbutt, signed from the Leeds academy three years ago for £600,000, has yet to make a senior appearance for the club, though he has played for Cheltenham. Gerard Deulofeu, on loan from Barcelona and at 19 a year younger than Garbutt, made his debut for Barcelona B two-and-a-half years ago, at Cordoba.

"Deulofeu is man football-wise," Martinez said. "He has scored 18 goals at [Spanish] Championship level and the experiences you go through internally to be able to score goals against men make a big difference. Luke hasn't been put in that position."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Manchester United's kit for the 2014/15 season
football
News
Nadine Gordimer died peacefully at home yesterday
peopleNobel laureate was a powerful anti-Apartheid voice
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor