The Non-League Football Paper - - NEWS - Scott DAVIES

IT’S all well and good that we are ex­cited by the fu­ture of the English game given the suc­cess of our young­sters in their re­spec­tive global tour­na­ments and where they go next, but the stats need to be un­der­stood. With only 16 Pre­mier League ap­pear­ances be­tween both the Un­der-17 and Un­der-20s squads, it shows that the path­way is blocked for our young prospects. We ask our­selves why? Jadon San­cho is a fine ex­am­ple of a fine tal­ent who has been brushed aside by Manch­ester City. For a measly sum of just £8mil­lion he de­cided it was best for him and his ca­reer to move to Borus­sia Dort­mund. Nowhere near the first team at City, San­cho went on to make his full de­but in the Bun­desliga for the Ger­man gi­ants last month. For me, they have cashed in on him far too soon. Are the acad­e­mies at our so-called Pre­mier League power clubs a waste of time? Look at Do­minic Solanke. He was crowned player of the tour­na­ment at the Un­der-20 World Cup this sum­mer. Some would ar­gue that with Eng­land win­ning the com­pe­ti­tion and him be­ing high­lighted as the best player, this would stand him in good stead to be a bright light in the forth­com­ing sea­son. Cer­tainly not. Solanke has made just a hand­ful of ap­pear­ances for Liver­pool this sea­son, with the ma­jor­ity com­ing from the bench. He felt the need to leave Chelsea in or­der to find first team foot­ball, as did his fel­low Reds team­mate Rhian Brew­ster. Both play­ers saw it an in­sur­mount­able task to break through at Stam­ford Bridge, and for me this isn’t a neg­a­tive mind­set, it’s proven in sta­tis­tics. So, how will we ever break this trend? In other coun­tries and leagues, play­ers get a chance to per­form on the big stage in do­mes­tic com­pe­ti­tions. Our star­lets have just proven to us that they are ar­guably the world’s best, so why not let them ex­press them­selves sooner rather than later? Be­cause no­body trusts them just yet, as man­agers are scared to throw them in at the deep end. How will they ever learn to cope with the pres­sures of play­ing in the Pre­mier League, when they are only deemed good enough to play against play­ers of their own age in Un­der-23 matches up and down the coun­try in front of next to no­body. The men­tal­ity for most man­agers in Eng­land is that they would rather buy from abroad. Buy a player that’s been shin­ing in a Euro­pean or South Amer­i­can league. Let’s start giv­ing them the chance.


If Wayne Rooney had been a youth team player at Manch­ester United and not come onto the scene at Ever­ton then his ca­reer could have been very dif­fer­ent. I’m al­most cer­tain he wouldn’t have had the chance to stamp his mark on the Pre­mier League at the ten­der age of 16. Ever­ton knew they had some­thing spe­cial with Rooney and de­cided it was time for him to grace the league with his un­doubted po­ten­tial. The style in which our play­ers won these tour­na­ments was beau­ti­ful to watch. Free-flow­ing foot­ball out from the back with a clear in­ten­tion of build­ing up through the thirds on the pitch. The ma­jor­ity of Pre­mier League teams play in this way nowa­days, and I worry that go­ing down the lower leagues and Non-League, to get games, could de­stroy them as a player. Yes, there are two sides to a game and play­ers need to learn to do both, but go­ing out on loan could prove dif­fi­cult, try­ing to set­tle into an alien way of how they are used to play­ing. Give these play­ers a chance to get up to stan­dard and to get used to the speed of the Pre­mier League. They de­serve more than one chance as they need to be blooded in grad­u­ally over a pe­riod of time. I’ve seen many play­ers in the Pre­mier League who have been brought in from over­seas, who are of a sim­i­lar age to those men­tioned above, who have been given time to get to grips with the pace of the game. Let’s not de­stroy our young­sters. Get them play­ing and the im­pact will be felt from the top down to Non-league.

Cheers, Scotty!

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

SPE­CIAL TAL­ENT: But Wayne Rooney may not have been given the same chance to shine in Manch­ester United’s youth set-up as he was at Ever­ton

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