Why not more Academy and Youth Players?

by   |   24/02/2018  21 Comments  [Jump to last]

I am 64 years old and I have seen many great Everton sides and some average ones over the years. The current one, with the exception of a few in the side, are less than average. This is not the standard of a professional Premier League team.

Why do the Premier League teams of today not invest in their youth systems? It is very rare to see; typically only a handful of the youth academy players make it all the way to the senior side.

Is the level of our young players not good enough to make the senior side? Is this the reason that the Premier League sides spend so much money to recruit players from abroad and, in doing so, also place the club into debt?

After all these years, I thought you must surround yourself with the best to reach the top – obviously the lesson hasn't gone too far. Sometimes, what you're looking for is right under your nose – have a look in your own backyard.

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Reader Comments (21)

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Jon Withey
1 Posted 25/02/2018 at 10:39:04
We do seem to invest in our youth system but we add players from other clubs and abroad too (which I'd say is definitely a good thing).

Arsenal and Chelsea have done similar for years – Chelsea even hoard them. I guess the difficulties are that you need a lot of patience and, perhaps more importantly, your youth system is never going to give you the choice that the open market will.

For example, you specifically need a world-class box-to-box midfielder for your first 11 – what are the chances of this being in the youth setup?

Actually, incredibly low. Not only that, you need that midfielder now and can't wait three years for a player to develop because you want to compete at the highest level right now.

I personally think a youth setup has to be the bread and butter of a well-run club – but it's also plain to see that the most successful clubs mainly recruit from the market, even Barcelona who have one of the best youth setups.

If a successful youth system is going to provide anything, it is likely to be competition for the first team. That has definitely been the case for us this season, we have to be grateful to Kenny, Holgate, Calvert-Lewin, Davies and Baningime for providing some competition to the 'pros' when they have let us down or got injured.

Will all that youth replace our first team next season? No – I hope it continues to provide competition though.

David Bromwell
2 Posted 25/02/2018 at 14:58:59
I think most supporters would prefer to watch homegrown players, rather than imported mercenaries. Sadly, this week's results illustrate just how difficult this can be.

Remembering the U23s and the U18s have both been well beaten this week, and in spite of us having numerous young players out on loan, I am not sure that any of them would improve our first team a the moment.

Annoyingly, a certain Stephen Gerrard seems to be doing an excellent job with Liverpool's Under-18s.

Alan J Thompson
3 Posted 25/02/2018 at 16:17:04
This manager has said that you can't play too many youngsters at the same time and he prefers players in the 25 to 30 years of age bracket. Not one word on ability.

Other teams seem to look to get players forward whenever possible while this manager (and the last) seem to think it is more important for them to be going in the other direction.

Steavey Buckley
4 Posted 25/02/2018 at 16:51:11
If and when Everton do get to safety with enough points, then Everton must start planning for next season. We must stop selecting players who should be sold or let go at the end of the season and play players from the academy who have a future at Everton. Judging by yesterday's game, there is quite a few who should be allowed to go.
Clive Rogers
5 Posted 25/02/2018 at 18:11:05
Steve, agree entirely with your feelings but the fact is that history tells us that the number of players that come through the ranks to achieve a top-flight career is quite a small percentage, and always has been at EFC.

I have watched EFC for 58 years and to be honest the number of youth players getting games this season is probably the highest I am aware of. Kenny, Holgate, Davies and Calvert-Lewin is the highest number I can remember. The fact is that most youth players don't make it to the top flight.

Jerome Shields
6 Posted 25/02/2018 at 23:40:23
Allardyce has been told to cut the squad. He has done this at the cost of youth. With players left abandoned on loans and others actively seeking loans, in the hope that they will not have to return to Everton.

Allardyce is not interested in developing youth, he is only interested in extending his salary as long as possible. He has never developed Youth at any Club he has managed.

The only good thing that has happened is Unsworth is still with us. The sooner Allardyce is gone, the better for the sake of our future Youth development policy.

Alan J Thompson
7 Posted 26/02/2018 at 02:58:36
Sorry, Clive, but under Harry Catterick we had Wright, Labone, Hurst, Harvey, Husband, Royle, Whittle and others who weren't first on the team sheet like Humphries, Kenyon and D'Arcy.

Even Moyes played younger players like Rooney and Vaughan and it seems only under Koeman and Allardyce (although Walter Smith could be included) that there appears to be a dislike of playing Academy players which may have been forced on them by necessity.

It should be remembered that both Holgate and Calvert-Lewin were signed from other clubs.

Sean Patton
8 Posted 26/02/2018 at 13:33:41

Haha... seeing as we won the derby 3-1 this month and are higher in the table than they are, I too hope Steven continues his 'excellent work' over there.

John Kavanagh
9 Posted 26/02/2018 at 15:31:17
Having blown 𧶀 million on players we will be lucky to get 㿊 million back on, there is now no alternative other than to look to the academy – the money's gone. Only the youngsters have really put a shift in.

If Allardyce needed to cut the size of the squad then Schneiderlin and Williams should have been shown the door in January. Sigurdsson has all the appearance of a player wanting to avoid injury ahead of leading the mighty Iceland to World Cup glory. Doing just the bare minimum to stay fit for the summer, with EFC a training camp paying him 𧲸's a week.

Rooney was past his sell-by date 3 years ago. Bolasie, even when fit, is really only a show pony who likes to look good when you are 3 or 4 up – and how often is that? Others are being paid 𧲸's a week to sit at home watching the telly – and they certainly won't have been watching Everton.

Under the leadership of Coleman and with Walcott providing the experience, we could have a young, fit team hungry to at least compete and entertain. Only the kids have played for each other this season.

I want to see Dowell and Lookman back. Dowell can already do what Sigurdsson does in terms of free kicks and Lookman has pace and goes for goal. Baningime, Davies and Gana covering central midfield pairing. Calvert-Lewin partnering Lookman. Feeney, Holgate, Keane and Funes Mori covering central defence. Left back is the only major problem and we need to properly assess if Garbutt or any of the kids out on loan could play at top level.

Once you add others in the squad like Vlasic, Kenny, and Onyekuru we could have a balanced and competitive team/squad with real pace next season, but will we ever have a manager prepared to take a risk on the youngsters and weed out the mercenaries? Doubt it, but Fonseca maybe would (I think we dodged a bullet with Silva).

Brian Harrison
10 Posted 26/02/2018 at 16:02:10

I think you would be amazed at how much Premier League clubs spend on their academies. I was listening to a programme last week talking about a boy at Chelsea who hasn't played for the first team but he is on 㾽,000 per week.

Certainly in the modern game, there was only the 1992 Man Utd side that had many academy players, playing every week. This was the team were Alan Hansen said you win nothing with kids and they proved him wrong. But generally Hansen was right: put too many kids in the team at once and they will get beat 8 out of 10. I know the cry always goes up when teams play badly "play the kids – they can't do any worse" but history says different.

I think it's even harder for teenagers at one of the top 4 clubs. Who was the last Chelsea academy player to play regularly in the last 15 years? Same at Liverpool, apart from Carragher and Gerrard. Arsenal... again, very few come through the ranks there. I still think Man Utd, despite being the richest club in Britain, still try to bring their kids through... but again, not many of late.

I also think you are right about maybe only Tom Davies have any sell on value, the rest we would lose millions on trying to sell them. Looks like Klaassen will go in the summer for a lot less than the 㿄 million we paid. We might get a bit of a profit on Sandro but, considering he was supposed to be a bargain, we won't make that much.

So it looks like Moshiri will have to give his new man at least 𧶀 million for us to be challenging for a top 6 spot, we can forget getting any higher at present.

Victor Yu
11 Posted 27/02/2018 at 05:26:04
Don't expect Sam to pay attention to youth when he is on a short-term contract. Why would he care when he is not here long term?
David Barks
12 Posted 27/02/2018 at 06:18:06
Victor, and that is why his appointment was such a terrible idea and it actually sets the club back.

When Man City sacked Mancini because he was alienating himself from the Board and the players they made a statement that they wanted to find someone who would implement a system throughout the club from youth to senior team, “one house football club” they called it. It began with their first appointment and is now in good hands with Pep. And it's a very similar approach to what Barcelona have done for more than a decade.

In all honesty, Martinez was attempting to do the same thing. But he was just too naive when it came to the defensive side of the game and not ready. Doesn't mean he will never be ready, it just might have been too early for him. Hell, if it happened now he might actually succeed!

But in any case, that's what we need. That should be our model and it should start as soon as possible.

Zack Yusof
13 Posted 28/02/2018 at 11:10:29
Sam Allardyce is not fit to lace Roberto Martinez's brown shoes. Fact.
Dennis Stevens
14 Posted 28/02/2018 at 15:32:38
Absotively, Zack!

The departure of Allardyce will be the highlight of my season – I do hope it's sooner rather than later.

Jay Harris
15 Posted 28/02/2018 at 15:47:26
I know Sam is bad... but Martinez? Come on, we do not need a hyper bullshitter – that was the reason for the dressing room to disintegrate in the first place.

Martinez drove a bus through the camaraderie and team spirit Moyes had painstakingly built throughout the club, getting rid of top class physios and other support staff.

The man is an egotistical bullshitter who should never come near the club again.

Tony Abrahams
16 Posted 28/02/2018 at 16:24:02
Bringing loads of kids through is the perfect ideology, but I'm not sure it will ever happen though.

Wenger has built loads of good squads with younger players, but because he has rarely challenged for the league, or in Europe, then the best players constantly get prised away.

I think Everton do better than most academies, and I believe that during the Kenwright years, this has possibly saved the club from going into administration, due to the sales of Jeffers, Ball, Dunne, and most notably Wayne Rooney.

Rodwell and Barkley, have also generated a lot of money, which probably means Everton's academy is one of the few that makes money, although I don't know if this is true.

Football has changed, its more about money than glory now, but if we could get a few good kids to come through together, then I'm sure this could change. Man Utd had there best ever season with loads of home-grown kids, but I don't think any of them ever helped England win a World Cup though.

We have got a few with talent right now but, has people say, we need the right manager to nurture them. The more I think about Arteta, the more he appeals to me with regards the Everton job, but whoever it is has got to have a plan.

I've seen Davies struggle because I feel that Koeman, maybe tried to change him, and also feel that every team at the club should be trying to play the same way, simply because it makes loads of sense!

Roger Helm
17 Posted 01/03/2018 at 22:20:31
I think the model is to loan out youngsters to clubs in lower leagues and take back those who prosper and continue their development. We have had several loaned out recently who couldn't hold down a place in a poor team, so would clearly be unsuitable for the Premier League.
Jerome Shields
18 Posted 03/03/2018 at 11:21:56
Martinez had a good attacking approach, weak defensive approach, and was let down by individual players. Allardyce has no attacking approach, his defensive approach is not working and individual players are not performing.

Some entertainment versus awful entertainment. Actually, Martinez was better at loans and transfers than Moyes, Koeman and Allardyce. Forgot about Walsh. I included him as well, whatever he does.

Mike Allison
19 Posted 03/03/2018 at 15:51:21
We're badly managed. Our players are good enough and we produce plenty of good young players, especially if you count the ones we've bought in.

The issue is not that the parts aren't up to standard, it's that our whole is less than the sum of the parts.

Lawrence Green
20 Posted 03/03/2018 at 15:55:44
Aston Villa fans and owner believed that bringing youngster into the first team was the solution to their woes - that ended well didn't it?

Not being good enough as individuals isn't acceptable but it's understandable as the players aren't responsible for being recruited by Everton, but lacking heart and spirit as a team is shameful and unless that changes we may escape the dreaded drop this season but may not be so fortunate next season.

Dick Fearon
21 Posted 04/03/2018 at 09:58:21
Having been involved at every level of junior development over the past 60 years, it is my firm belief there is far too emphasis on winning leagues and cups.

Players in all-conquering teams are not under enough pressure. They are what we call flash-in-the-pans who think they know it all. They come unstuck against lads who learned technique and how to graft in struggling sides.

Too often, I have seen would-be superstars fade into obscurity while the grafters go on to make successful careers in the game.

Over the 60-odd years of watching our club, I have been disappointed at the huge number of much vaunted youngsters who fail to make it on the big stage.

My dad would say "hungry fighters are the best". Perhaps that explains why youngsters from less affluent countries are more dedicated and try harder than our molly-coddled locals.

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