FA Chairman Greg Dyke came up according to him with a spectacular plan to regenerate the talent coming through the youth ranks in England in a bid to eventually win the World Cup in 2022. This has been a plan that has been contemplated since 2011. Quite frankly England has not produced a World Class player in decades.
Did someone mention Wayne Rooney? Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo started almost on the same level at Manchester United; Ronaldo has gone on to win the Ballon D’or twice and runner up four times to Lionel Messi. So if Rooney is World Class then Ronaldo and Messi have to be Galaxy Class.
Back to Greg Dyke’s plan for England, the four key proposals are:
• A new League Three to be introduced in 2016-17, combining the top half of the Conference and 10 Premier League B sides.
• A beefed-up home-grown players’ rule requiring 13 members of the 25-man squad to have been trained in England as youngsters by 2020-21.
• A more strictly enforced work permits system that would prevent Premier League sides from having more than two non-EU players.
• A new loan system that will allow Premier League clubs to loan up to eight players to a strategic partner below the Championship.
This is very similar to the procedure that operates in Spain, Germany, France and the Netherlands as majority of the top clubs have their B teams playing in a league on the league pyramid. In Spain the B teams play in the second tier while in Germany the B teams play in the third and fourth tier. It is important to note that the sole aim of this plan is to boost the number of quality talents coming through the youth ranks, home-grown players as they call it.
However this does not look like the plan to solve the problem. As Arsene Wenger said the problem with youth in England is that the youth players spend more time playing competitions than on the training pitch, which is a very valid statement. The introduction of a new league is exactly the point, another competition which the youth players have to compete in. The great Brazilian Player Ronaldinho once said “I don’t go to training to train, I go to training to learn”. The obvious truth is the more time you spend learning the higher the potential is for you to get better. An additional competition quite simply does not do that.
Let’s take a look at clubs that have one of the most successful youth set ups in the world such as Barcelona and Ajax, majority of the time is spent in the academy with elite coaches perfecting all aspects of their game which proves crucial in future developments of the player. It’s what they call the TIPS system. Improving the Technique, Intelligence, Personality and Speed of the players is considered as key. Upon this system is the success of the youth systems of Ajax. Many of the youth systems in England are not built on systems like this which ultimately affects the quality of players being produced.
Another aspect that is often overlooked is the quality of coaching; this is where England needs to focus all of their attention. If the quality of the coaching is not world class then certainly the players cannot be. Even at the highest level there is only a handful of World Class British Managers and certainly none of them manage abroad.
In the Barclays Premier League there are 11 home-grown managers with 5 in the top ten while in Spain there are 13 home grown managers and 7 in the top ten. In terms of playing personnel, England has the second highest percentage of foreign players in Europe second only to Cyprus who have 60 percent of the players in their league as foreigners. Obviously the Barclays Premier league hierarchy is not in support of this new innovation because quite simply it has all the tools to destroy what the English themselves have termed the best league in the world.
Quite simply the influx of foreign talents in the Premier League is what has made the league what it is. The plain truth is if the English players were good enough or were developing as they should, the managers would not go abroad to get players who they believe can do the job and the same applies all over the World. At Real Madrid almost the entire first team are foreign players, this is fuelled by modern day football’s desire for immediate success. Managers quite simply do not have the luxury of time to groom younger players. There would be the exception of course but this is where the quality of the coaching at the youth level comes in. The English simply do not have elite coaches and that is where the focus should be.
Improve the quality of the coaches at youth level and the players would improve, otherwise we would have less Luis Suarez’ and Yaya Toures and more well……….
It is still to be seen whether this plan would be implemented but if it is, it certainly won’t solve the problem that England faces in terms of home-grown quality and it would almost certainly bring an end to the excitement that is in the Barclays Premier League.