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Youth ? The New Year(...s)

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Most of the papers, especially todays, have articles about the current state of play in the Premier League and at England level. Usual end-of-year predictions from most of the sports writers: Who will finish in the Top Four? Who will go down? Who's for the sack? ? and so on.

Interestingly, several have made long-term predictions about England after Cappello. The names of Jack Rodwell and Ross Barkley appear in many as the future of England. Now I know Barkley is out with a double broken leg at the moment but do ToffeeWeb readers believe that now is the time to build around the young players? (I include Felliani as one of the young players, and Coleman.)

Any others you can suggest? I mean to play now, when fit in Barkley's case, on a regular basis and to build around them ? slowly bringing in other younger players over the next 3 to 4 years when the four mentioned will be seasoned professionals enabling them to support new younger players. I see Baines, Jagielka, Arteta, Pienaar and Cahill as shorter long-term players, if you know what I mean, certainly able to be first team players for several years yet.

As you can see, we are lacking in young strikers and a goalkeeper. I am not sure of Mucha's age. I do not see goalkeeper as a long-term worry but certainly strikers seem to me to be a short- and long- term problem. I cannot see Anichebe as either a short- or long-term answer.


George McKane, Liverpool     Posted 26/12/2010 at 15:37:45

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Matthew Lovekin
1   Posted 26/12/2010 at 21:59:36

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The only way Everton can survive as a decent Premier League side is to focus and invest in youth.

To Moyes's credit, he has tried to lower the age of the squad, and as mentioned we currently have Coleman, Fellaini and Rodwell with possibly Barkley as excellent young players.

The current Barcelona team was built through the youth team, not just the players, but the whole system, tactics, etc to make it an easy progression from youth to reserve to first team.

Everton have to admit that we currently and for the foreseeable future can't compete in the transfer market and wages so the only way to go is youth.
Gavin Ramejkis
2   Posted 26/12/2010 at 22:32:53

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Double-edged sword, I'm afraid... any good and we can't afford them and they would be signed up by bigger sides with better scouts. If we do develop our own, they get hoovered by the Sky darlings with a big payout to balance the books and keep the banks and creditors from the door.
Mark Pierpoint
3   Posted 26/12/2010 at 23:29:37

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The striker situation is an issue. In our situation, I think that we have a short-term problem with regards to strikers. Let's look at sorting the immediate problem now, but in the summer I do think we have to take a long look at all five of our forwards; I would happily get rid of Saha, Yakubu and Vaughan and look for longer-term options. Johan Elmander?

Goalkeepers I don't see as an issue; Howard should be added to your medium-term list surely? And Pienaar can't be a medium-term player until he signs?
Christopher McCullough
4   Posted 26/12/2010 at 23:59:45

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I'd like Roque Santa Cruz, Mark. Perfect foil for Cahill. He would also join the medium term lads.

I'm excited about Barkely. He seems to have similar hype to Rodwell and even Rooney.
Marcus Kendall
5   Posted 27/12/2010 at 01:00:05

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Santa Cruz? He's on massive wages and he's never fit ? do we want another striker who spends too much time on the treatment table?

Elmander is decent but isn't really a goal scorer and he's no better than what we have.

To be honest, I struggle to think of an available striker who we can get who's better than what we have. Let's see if Moyes has something up his sleeve.

As for the youth, I agree it's the best way for a club with our finances to go. Barkley is being fast-tracked which is a sign of his promise, think he'd've had a few first team games under his belt if it wasn't for the horrific injury he suffered. Heard he'll be back in April which is a relief as I thought he'd be out for much longer.
Sam Hoare
6   Posted 27/12/2010 at 00:59:39

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Isn't Hallam Hope meant to be pretty useful... and Luke Garbutt too? Plus big things are expected of Shane Duffy.

How about we take Victor Moses when Wigan get relegated and end up with this team dominating in a few years time.

Turner
Coleman Duffy Jagielka Baines
Barkley Fellaini Rodwell
Moses Garbutt
Wickham

Just a thought.
Christopher McCullough
7   Posted 27/12/2010 at 01:31:40

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I was thinking of a loan move, similar to Jo. There were rumours. We haven't had a typical Everton centre-foward since *ahem* Beattie. I think Cruz would be great on loan, if he's fit.

If two players of Rodwell's quality come through in the next 5 years, that will be a result. I wouldn't place too much faith in a team of youngsters coming through on the cheap.
Tony Cornmell
8   Posted 27/12/2010 at 08:54:07

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After watching the Bate games last season home and away, I thought Duffy looked good, telling senior pros what positions to take. I also took on board that, even though Luke Garbutt is the England left back for this age, Moyes played Jake Bidwell, who is only 16 yet looked fantastic. Great shame about Baxter as he seems to be going the way of Kissock. Unfortunately, so many fall by the wayside but if a couple come through... we can only hope. COYB
Mike Gwyer
9   Posted 27/12/2010 at 11:00:42

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Gavin #2.

Your comments are not quite on the mark. Everton's youth team policy and scouting network is 2nd to none.

Lumsden and Holden are quite litterally all over the north west, Wales and quite often in Ireland reviewing young lads that Everton's scouting network have spotted.

I can promise you when Everton make an offer to these boys it is not often refused. However, the unfortunate thing is that after we have trained these boys into talented players, it is THEN that the big fish come sniffing.
Mark Pierpoint
10   Posted 27/12/2010 at 11:28:11

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Santa Cruz: few problems with him for me Chris. He will never be a long-term option as City paid £18M for him, you have to assume that they will want to recoup half of it? He has never been fit since his Bayern days.

Marcus, I would be cautious of saying Elmander is no better than what we have got. He has scored goals and has been fit.

I personally am not worried about finding a striker that is better than what we have, because we have next to nothing at the moment. Yak is immobile, Saha has lost it totally, Anichebe is unproven and Vaughan wont make it. Beckford has some potential but you can't see him taking it to the better teams in the league.

George McKane
11   Posted 27/12/2010 at 12:31:34

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What worried me was that I could not see a "policy" at Everton. It's obvious that we do not have any money, haven't had any for years, and it seems unlikely that we will get access to any large investment, so big-money buys are out of the question. So, accept this, know your own situation and put in place development plans.

We seem to have some great young players but we do not get to see them play consistently. Go with a "youth policy" and stick to it ? hopefully we will see the rewards later on.

For me, the worse situation was the feeling of merely drifting along with no ambitions or goals (every pun intended). I feel that we are going nowhere just waiting for something to happen, a catastrophe or an investor. We need to make decisions, have policies, put our own future in our hands. I would support the Manager and The Management totally if I felt that they were pursuing something.

Jon Cox
12   Posted 27/12/2010 at 13:07:02

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I'd like to see (at home at least) Beckford and Vaughan up front. With two banks of four behind.

This could be tried in January when Tim's away. JV should be given one last chance and Beckford should be given a couple of games with the full 90.

It's a curiosity thing.
Trevor Lynes
13   Posted 27/12/2010 at 13:36:51

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Elmander is much better on the ball than anyone we have up front and why is there talk of Vaughan when DM has openly said he can leave if an offer comes in?

I honestly am not enthusiastic about our kids and really I have not seen anything to get too excited about Rodwell either, despite the hype. We usually empty our academy each season and if you look at the results of our reserve sides you can see why.

I reckon Villa have found a good one in Albrighton but most seem to flatter to deceive. Almost all the best players in the Premier League are unfortunately foreign and that is the same for our team. Pienaar (despite his criticism for wanting away) has the best work ethic followed by Cahill (another foreigner)... just look without the blue tinted specs and you will see that we do not have any young players seriously pushing for places.

Jay Harris
14   Posted 27/12/2010 at 14:05:37

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I think the problem starts with WHO is running the academies.

The Ajax and Barcelona academies are world renowned and I believe run by people with vision who teach technique and attitude.

While most English academies have improved, they are still run by people like Steve Round and various other FA coaching course products.

We need a revolutionary not an evolutionary approach.

I thought "The Everton Way" was quite a progressive step but have not seem any more about it nor its success or failure.

Anybody more informed?
Sam Hoare
15   Posted 27/12/2010 at 14:48:08

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It's also worth pointing out that, given our finances, there may well not be any option but to start relying a bit more on our youth system.

True, a lot of the academy grads won't make it but the setup should be aiming to bring through at least one player every year who can compete with the squad, this may not be a Rooney but an Osman or a Hibbert.

The sooner we start affording the best of our youngsters prolonged opportunities, the sooner I think we will become aligned to what our future course must necessitate.

Unless of course that insanely wealthy lifelong Everton fan finally comes out of the woodwork!
Gavin Ramejkis
16   Posted 27/12/2010 at 17:20:21

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Mike, football has been global for decades, where are the scouts in Europe? Where are the scouts checking out South America? Where are the scouts checking out Africa? We need to look beyond the comfort zone of home nations.

Jay, some time ago, these pages discussed the dearth of coaching in the UK ? the Howard Wilkinson schools of pitch-based percentage footballing misery and how players with flair these days tend to come from foreign shores where it hasn't been schooled out of them.
Brian Waring
17   Posted 27/12/2010 at 19:55:52

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Gavin, we probalby can't afford the flights for the scouts to fly abroad.
Gavin Ramejkis
18   Posted 27/12/2010 at 20:16:27

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Brian, you are right... but a scouting network doesn't need to be permanent employees, surely in this day and age someone with dare I say my worn out phrase "business acumen" has a network of self employed scouts available globally who get paid a minimal retainer and finders fee if and when they unearth a gem or rough diamond who might make the grade.
Brian Waring
19   Posted 27/12/2010 at 21:04:47

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Agree with you on the point about someone with business acumen, Gavin. The problem, though, is that nobody at Goodison probably knows what it means.
Trevor Lynes
20   Posted 28/12/2010 at 01:35:58

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We can certainly afford flights to Europe; we spend a fortune each pre-season having sunny hols in the States and Oz and STILL get off to awful starts every season. It's a BOOT camp they need to go to so that they can be sufficiently motivated BEFORE the season starts.

This scouting issue is a old chestnut and has been debated many times over the past years. We actually had Baines and Jags as youngsters and let them go... where were our youth development people??? Both ex-academy kids were developed elsewhere and then BOUGHT back! (Good business acumen, my arse!!)

Peter Griffin
21   Posted 28/12/2010 at 10:38:28

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Gavin - You would be surprised at the global network of scouts Everton has, for all ages. Our scouting is usually separted by age groups eg. 16-23. If there is a tournament with teams in that particular age group, we are represented.

What usually happens is our scouts report back raving about certain players, only to find big European teams have enquired with the big bucks to back it up!

There are database companies now with details of thousands of players gathered by scouts they hold on retainers. Clubs can pay for this info or pay them to send their scout to watch teams/players for them in a given situation rather than employ full-time scouts.

When you go out of your catchment area, it's extremely difficult, cut throat competition. Better coaching is needed closer to home to make the scouts' job easier.
John Vanderwerff
22   Posted 29/12/2010 at 13:03:27

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Focus and invest in youth? It ain't going to happen ? otherwise, wouldn't Duffy have played last night instead of Hibbert at centre half?

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