VIRGO: End­ing loans will help the English kids

The Football League Paper - - FRONT PAGE -

THE pro­posed ter­mi­na­tion of the emer­gency loan sys­tem may be a night­mare for foot­ball clubs, but it could be great news for young English play­ers. Right now, trans­fer win­dows don’t mean much out­side the Pre­mier League. Man­agers can loan play­ers from Septem­ber to Novem­ber and then again from Fe­bru­ary un­til March. The FA may have con­vinced FIFA to hold fire for 12 months, but as things stand, change will kick in for 2016-17.

In fair­ness, you can un­der­stand why smaller clubs are up in arms. They say the loan sys­tem is the only way they can sur­vive.


There are other is­sues too. When I was at Bris­tol Rovers, we had knee in­jury af­ter knee in­jury. At one stage there were four of us out with cru­ci­ates. You can’t plan for that.

And what if a bug goes round? What if you eat a dodgy bit of chicken the night be­fore a match and it wipes out half the team? What if you lose your goal­keep­ers? There are times when loans are jus­ti­fied. But, for me, scrap­ping the cur­rent sys­tem can’t come soon enough.

Academies and youth teams are full of tal­ented young kids who just need a chance. But too many man­agers see them as a risk. They’re far more com­fort­able go­ing into the Cham­pi­onship and loan­ing some­one who’s a lit­tle bit older and has ex­pe­ri­ence of lower league foot­ball.

It hap­pened to me loads of times when I was first start­ing out. You’re 1718, you’re des­per­ate for a chance to prove your­self.

You’re on the bench for a while, trav­el­ling all over the coun­try. Then some­body gets in­jured and you get on for the last 15 min­utes.You think ‘Great, this is it’.

But even if you played well, the boss would im­me­di­ately go into the loan mar­ket and get some­body in for a month to cover the in­jury. All of a sud­den, you’re back to square one and your devel­op­ment is ham­pered.

We all know why this hap­pens – man­agers fear the sack. But if their hands are tied and every­body is in the same boat, they’ll have to play young­sters. And we’ve seen be­fore how cash-strapped clubs have – through ne­ces­sity – un­earthed rough di­a­monds.

Crewe have done it for years. In the mid-2000s, Stock­port were forced to play the likes of An­thony Pilk­ing­ton, Tommy Rowe and Ash­ley Wil­liams. Guys like Cyrus Christie and Cal­lum Wil­son would never have got their break at Coven­try so early if not for the lack of cash.

Just look at some of the guys I came through with at Brighton – Adam ElAbd, Dan Harding, Dean Ham­mond, who is still in the Pre­mier League. Rochdale are a great ex­am­ple of a club cur­rently grow­ing their own on a tight bud­get.

But they are the lucky ones. I’ve

seen so many good young play­ers fail to make it, not be­cause they weren’t good enough but be­cause they didn’t get chance to show it.

In a sim­i­lar vein, this could help lower league clubs at­tract bet­ter play­ers. Par­ents of young play­ers nat­u­rally grav­i­tate to­wards big teams. Their kids get an of­fer from Chelsea or Ar­se­nal and their eyes light up. But real­is­ti­cally, you’re not go­ing to get a look in there. And if you can’t go on loan, what’s the point?

Now, though, you could go into a League One side – an Old­ham or a Barns­ley – and think ‘Right, I’m train­ing with the first team, they can’t loan any­one, I’ve got a re­ally good chance here’. That’s where I’d want my kids.

As a young player, there’s noth­ing worse than feel­ing you haven’t got a chance. What this will do is give them hope, mo­ti­va­tion and a clear path.

Yes, a mi­nor­ity of clubs will suf­fer. But I think the wider benefits – to young play­ers and the English game – are worth the pain.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

DEJA VU: Nor­wich’s Wes Hoola­han has been in the ti­tle shake-up be­fore

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.