EFL’s ef­forts can help our young guns

The Football League Paper - - NEWS -

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.

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