May 31, 2010

Decline of the English yoof?

I read an interesting article by The Times’ Oliver Kay this morning regarding the England U17s winning the European Championship in Liechtenstein. He writes:

Even as they got off the plane, FA officials were sending joyous texts about the first age-group success of an England men’s side since a team including Gary Neville, Sol Campbell, Paul Scholes and Robbie Fowler — David Beckham, although he had played for Manchester United’s first team, did not even make the squad — won the European Under-18 Championship on home soil in 1993.

Compared with:

An England Under-17 team reached the final of the same tournament in 2007, narrowly losing 1-0 against Spain. Three years later, a starting line-up of players now aged 19 or 20 have started a combined total of five Premier League matches — Danny Welbeck two, Victor Moses two and Danny Rose one. Dan Gosling, of Everton, was among the substitutes.

Based on that snapshot, it looks like a genuine decline in the talent breaking through, at least in the Premier League.

Obviously this ignores the likes of Phil Jones (a current England U18 international, who started seven times for Blackburn Rovers last season, and even won the Man of the Match award on his full debut against Chelsea), plus Rodwell (19), Wilshere (18) and Delfouneso (19), who would all have been in the same age group, and who are getting relatively regular Premier League football.

It seems that the larger clubs, Spurs included, are happier to send their promising talents out on loan to league clubs to gain their experience, whilst instead offering squad places to older (and often foreign) players. Young players rarely get thrown in at the deep end, with managers knowing how high the stakes are.

Interestingly, one of Spurs’ biggest success stories, Lennon, was very much thrown in. He was expected to be a bit-part player in the 2005/6 season, with Wayne Routledge ahead of him in the pecking order. With Routledge injured, however, Lennon took his chance, and ended up playing 27 league games, and being nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year.

I’m not suggesting that we should be throwing young players straight into the team – far from it. But it’s interesting to see managers taking a more cautious approach, when previously it’s been seen as worthwhile to take a risk with a young player once in a while.

Kay’s comparison is a useful one, and it will be interesting to take a look back at the current England U17s in three years time,to see how many have made the break through.

As an aside, good luck to the England U19s against the Ukraine this afternoon – Steven Caulker and Dean Parrett are starting the game, with John Bostock and Andros Townsend on the bench.

NB: Spurs’ Harry Kane missed out on the European Championship due to injury.

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  • Anonymous says:

    Sorry Was Dany Rose not thrown into the deep end with a Debut against Arsenal? O fail to grasp your point of this article obviously now we can look back at successful players from England’s youth but at the moment we can’t as they’re still young. It seems a bit pointless

  • Windy says:

    The point is this – the players that made up the England U17 team of three years ago now have just five Premier League appearances between them..

    Yes, Rose was thrown in to great effect. Have we seen him since? Will we see him again? Who knows.

    It could simply be, as we have been told by managers and academy coaches, that players will start breaking through later, or it could be a continuation of a trend.

  • Anonymous says:

    Whether there is a current crop of really talented players or not, the game is and always has been a cycle. Taking your analogy, every team that leaves these shores should be full of world class talent, but patently never is. England were supposed to have a Golden Generation, but it failed to materialize. Yet Ireland I believe won this tournament a while back, yet haven’t qualified for either the European or World up. U17-21, really don’t matter in the great shape of things any more than winners of the youth cup have any bearing on the Premiership. Spurs are right to loan out players rather than play them in pointless games against other reserve teams, better to have a taster in combat than pretend to! ESSEXIAN76

  • Windy says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, ESSEXIAN76. I wonder whether Sherwood will have a say in whether we enter a reserve team next year? We have a larger pool of “reserve type” players this time around, so we could potentially cope with reserve football plus some loans.

  • Anonymous says:

    Well for good or bad it is just the way of the world and the fundamentals are not likely to change any time soon so any manager trying to hark back by playing the kids will see his team stuffed and his job on the line. As it goes though I would say Spurs are as good as any club at bringing through young British players so we have nothing to be embarrassed about.

  • DaveYid says:

    Younger players should have more of a chance because they have to start somewhere. There’s a first time for everything.

    However, the closing stages of the 2009/2010 season for 4 of the top 5 teams (Arsenal by this point were out of the title race) were no time for taking risks like that. Remember, a squad place taken by an unknown reserve is one less for a more able player.

    It’s just an inconvenient truth.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks. Sherwood probably will have a say, as I really believe he’ll be influential long term in the management at Spurs. There needed to be changes at the Lane in regards to bringing players through, when you consider that King is the only player of note in the current side that’s come up through the ranks. Of course some will say a few fringe players have made it, but by and large its not been happening for quite some time. I like our policy of buying the cream of other teams youth, like Huddlestone, O’Hara, et’al, and believe that has proved more beneficial than the previous methods. ESSEXIAN76

  • Anonymous says:

    PLease ignore the O’Hara comment as I know he was released by Wenger and snapped up by Pleat, but hopefully you understand my point. Essexian76

  • Windy says:

    I like the prospect of signing promising youngsters (Dawson, Huddlestone, Lennon, Naughton, Walker, etc) too, but what we’d all love is for a home-grown local lad to make it through – Mason, Caulker, Townsend and co have a chance. Next season could be a big one for a number of our young players development-wise – fingers crossed.

  • Cusop says:

    The fact is the competitive nature of the London area means that it is extremely difficult to identify the talent and see it emerge. Let us not forget Mr (crackpot) Pleat kicked out Crouch..

    With all the clubs chasing the talent.. Once we get them how well do we develop them

    Cusop

  • Anonymous says:

    Sorry Cuson, but I’m fairly certain it was Gerry Francis who sold Crouch to QPR for 60k.but hey ho its old fanny now. I agree with Windy and would love to see a whole team of local lads turn out for Spurs. Bringing in talented youth from other teams must therefore raise the bar for any player with aspirations of becoming a Lilywhite, and provided the management from Chairman to tea lady is properly in place, Spur’s long term and immediate future is in good hands, just think back to where we were when ENIC took the helm. We’re in pretty good shape aren’t we? Essexian76

  • 刁陳 says:

    向小善致敬,它使人生旅程較為平順。........................................

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