The Football League Paper - - NEWS -

FAB­U­LOUS stuff at Crewe last week, where the en­tire start­ing XI was made up of play­ers who came through the acad­emy. For­get scour­ing the globe for cheap im­ports or patch­ing up a side with an end­less cav­al­cade of loan play­ers. In an age when many lower league clubs are strug­gling with spi­ralling costs, Crewe’s is surely the blue­print to fol­low.

Once, it was easy to ar­gue. For all they pro­duced fine play­ers and stayed afloat by flog­ging them, the Alex rarely won any­thing. But af­ter two vic­to­ri­ous Wem­b­ley ap­pear­ances in as many years, their fo­cus on youth de­vel­op­ment is now bring­ing both sta­bil­ity and suc­cess. What’s more, it is the best ad­vert go­ing. If you’ve a got a tal­ented young son, where would you send him?

A Pre­mier League team with 1,000 oth­ers and 22 in­ter­na­tion­als block­ing his path? Or Gresty Road, where he’ll be fast-tracked to the first team and could be­come the next Nick Pow­ell or Ash­ley West­wood?

It’s a no-brainer and I hope it brings Crewe suc­cess for many years to come.

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