EFL’s efforts can help our young guns
THE EFL have been on the receiving end of plenty of criticism over the past year or so, but one thing you cannot accuse them of is being complacent.
They aren’t just keeping everything the same, they are trying to be innovative. Okay, some things haven’t worked – their Whole Game Solution bit the dust, the Checkatrade Trophy revamp was widely panned.
Something that should be applauded is their bid to encourage their member clubs to field more home-grown youngsters. To be fair, the clubs are also getting behind the efforts to promote young academy players and give them first-team chances.
The news this week that the number of home-grown players on team-sheets will increase from six to seven in 2017-18 and one club-developed player will have to be named on team-sheets from the start of the following season is welcome.
Admittedly, it would be better if a clubdeveloped player had to be in the starting eleven and not just in the squad. You could end up with a token youngster on the bench all season, but it is a start. It is a tiny step forward and that’s positive.
It’s also timely in a week when it was announced that agents’ fees were £42m in the Championship in 2016-17, more than £3m in League One and in excess of £800,000 in League Two.
Yes, clubs need to wheel and deal but it’s surely worth encouraging them as much as possible to bring their youngsters through and give them an opportunity.
Anything the EFL can do in this regard, however small, should be applauded.
When League One and Two clubs meet to discuss the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday, let’s hope they will discuss ways in which to give more youngsters a chance to gain valuable match experience next season.