Premier clubs may be paid for playing young British talent

 

The Premier League are considering offering millions of pounds to clubs for fielding British under-21s after a 2011-12 season in which only 43 home-grown players of that age group made first-team appearances.

The League's director of youth development, Ged Roddy, has admitted that the vast amount of money available to clubs in the elite league creates the risk of the competition going the way of tennis and Wimbledon, with "the best competition on the doorstep and hardly any British players in it". A debate is already under way about funnelling TV rights money into a central pot to provide incentives for the use of young British players. Privately, the Premier League accept the sum will need to be substantial to make a difference.

The League recruited John Murtough from Everton as their new head of elite performance last Friday and are employing professional talent-spotters – David Pleat, Brian Little and Joe Royle – at games in the newly constituted under-21s league as part of their effort to prevent the national side suffering from the League's presence. Roddy also believes there may be potential for the Football Association to send money back to the Premier League clubs who have delivered players for Roy Hodgson.

Fewer than half of the 77 under-21s who appeared in the Premier League last season were British, and Hodgson has argued that the new £1 billion Premier League TV rights deal will make it even harder for English players to command first-team places, to the detriment of his national side. This season's relaunch of the old reserves league as an under-21 competition is part of the same drive to develop more young English players.

The under-21 league gives clubs' academy directors the opportunity to meet "technical match observers" to discuss their players' performances. Some games are held in clubs' main stadiums in an attempt to replicate the more challenging atmosphere that players will encounter at first-team level. A knockout phase after Christmas will also increase its intensity.

But Manchester City's football administrator, Brian Marwood, who watched his under-21s draw 1-1 with Wolves on Tuesday night, said he was yet to be convinced that the new league could produce first-team players. "It will be interesting to see if under-21s gets everyone to where they want to be," he said. "One of my worries is: does it have the intensity? The loan system works well if you get it right and that has a better way of developing players. It's not a bad first 45 minutes we've seen out there but I'm not sure we can take a boy [from the under-21s league] and play him against Chelsea [in the first team]."

A recent presentation for Premier League managers at Gloucester Place compared footballers with violinists and stars of ballet in terms of how much coaching time is required to produce first-team players. The managers were told that students from the Yehudi Menuhin School undertook 10,840 hours, the Royal Ballet School and British Cycling 10,000 hours and football 3,760.

Under the Premier League's Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP), Category One ranked clubs will provide 6,000 hours, excluding game time, though Roddy acknowledges that a high quality of coaching – which Britain has sorely lacked – is more significant.

Marwood said his club – who are investing £200m in a new Etihad Campus in time for the 2014-15 season – are two or three years away from being able to provide an under-21 supply line to the first-team manager, and that City would bring in young overseas players if they had to.

"Our plan is to produce players that will get into the Manchester City team, and from a selfish point of view that may be to the detriment of the English national team," he said.

"I'm a big believer in the system. I know how the system can help. But we also have to be realistic and say we are trying to produce that real quality that can play in week in, week out, and if they happen to come from another country then we shouldn't be ashamed to embrace it."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee