Its been a couple of weeks since my last Football Friday blog. Back this week with a new entry following the England victory over Spain in the International break last week. This week, I ask – Is youth the way of the future for football?
Personally I think it has been proved that it is. Lets look at what Manchester have continually proved over the decades. Numerous times pundits have told them “you can’t win anything with kids” and every time, they have been proved wrong by The Red Devils. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this way of playing works and should be adopted by more teams in the UK.
Some teams of course have no choice in the matter. Everton for example are having to rely on younger players as they don’t have the money to buy top class players from across Europe. They are finding it tough this season though, which just goes to show that money is important in the game.
Teams like Real Madrid and more recently Manchester City seem to have the philosophy that buying all the best young players will bring them all the success going. This year it appears that its working for City, but you can never discount the likes of Manchester United whose youth policy is among the best in Europe alongside Barcelona. They have bought young players, but most of their current success has come from their youth academy that Pep Guardiola was at one point head of before getting the top job.
Chelsea are starting to realise that this policy can reap benefits. Look at Daniel Sturridge, he is getting a lot of starts for the club this year and he is scoring goals. That faith is good for him as he earned his first cap with the England team this week, albeit as a substitute. A huge compliment and testament to the work that Andre Villas Boas is doing at Chelsea. Ok, we are having off days, but this is the start of a rebuild at Chelsea and teething troubles are bound to be present. Give it a couple of years and hopefully Boas still at the club and I think we will see a much more powerful Chelsea in England and Europe.
In the International arena, Germany showed us in the World Cup last year that youth is working, and although they didn’t win the trophy, neighbours Spain vindicated the policy of youth in a squad. England are finally paying heed to what everyone else are doing and fielded a very youthful side against Sweden. More work needs to be done to encourage youth in teams, but a lot has to be done in the attitudes of young players. Too many think that being a footballer is the fast track to riches and fame. Yes, you can have these things, but only if you work hard and I just wish more young players were mature enough to see that its not all about the money.
So do you think that youth is a good policy? I think there are arguments for both sides, but for me, more managers have to see the positives in fielding a younger side and stop relying on the “big name” old players to get them through as it often doesn’t work. The days of Lampard, Terry, Gerrard, and Ferdinand are fast drawing to a close I think.