December 9 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger would welcome the introduction of feeder clubs for the Premier League to help save a “lost” generation of talented players.
A Football Association commission is being set up to find ways to improve the senior England team, with chairman Greg Dyke floating the idea of the top clubs having feeder sides or even B teams in the lower leagues.
In Spain, Barcelona B and Real Madrid Castilla play in the Segunda Division, while in Germany, Borussia Dortmund II are in the 3.Fussball-Liga and Bayern Munich II compete in the fourth-tier Regionalliga, where their teams are usually made up of promising youngsters between 18 and 23 as well as veterans drafted in to provide some experience.
However, Football League chairman Greg Clarke is concerned any such moves could damage the commission’s work by self-interest from English football’s different groups.
Those responsible for youth development at Premier League clubs believe more formal relationships with lower league sides would help the development of players aged 17 to 21 and Wenger agrees.
“I like it personally,” said the French coach who has brought the likes of England internationals Ashley Cole, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs through Arsenal’s youth system, while also helping develop the home-grown talents of Theo Walcott, Carl Jenkinson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
“The FA made big efforts to reorganise the whole system [of youth football] and there are too many players who are lost in a situation where they don’t have any future.
“If we have a player who is under-21 at Arsenal and has not played for the first team, that means he has started to play in the reserves at 17 or 18.
“For three years he is playing in this [under-21] league and still does not go up [to the first team]. They don’t see where they can go.
“For example we have 45 players between 16 and 21. You need to keep 20 from 19 to 21. Among this 20 not many have a realistic chance to play one day for the [Arsenal] first team.
“If you multiply that by 20 you have 400 players in professional top clubs who have no real chance to ever play for the first team.
“It would be better for them to play somewhere. They know as well they will never play for the Arsenal first team or Manchester first team. It is demoralising for them to be there.”
Wenger believes linking with clubs in the lower divisions would be of mutual benefit.
“Barnet is a good example and could be a good feeder club for us,” he said.
“But also you don’t want to destroy clubs like Barnet, so you have to find a good mixture between the two.
“I respect the history of English football and maybe you should just organise a league of professional clubs - a feeder league.”