I’ve just finished reading a post, which ponders something that is increasingly being spoken about within the world of professional football and, more specifically, youth development within professional football.
I work at AFC Bournemouth, and we’ve just secured ownership from a vastly wealthy Russian businessman. In the last few years we’ve seen talent after talent emerge from our youth setup and move on to a higher level of football. The likes of Sam Vokes, Alan Connell, Brett Pitman, Danny Ings etc.
In the January transfer window we signed seven players. One of whom is Matt Tubbs, prolific in league 2 with Crawley this season, and scored last night on his debut. Meanwhile, Jayden Stockley, who has come through the ranks of the youth setup, to play for the 1st X1, to score 2 goals on his full debut. Is loaned out for the second time of the season.
Does this worry me? Not really.
Mr Demin, our new Co-Chairman, is obviously not shy of a pound or two. To ignore that would be nonsensical. We can expect our facilities to improve tenfold, (which is already in progress), and we can also expect investment within the 1st XI much like Chelsea’s did, albeit on a more relative scale.
I will not ignore that this investment in top players makes it that much harder for young players to break into the first team. However, I do not agree with the notion that it’s a bad thing.
As a fan of my football club, I want to see it make as much progress and achieve as much success as possible. I want to see us being pragmatic with our resources. I want to see us invest in areas that need improving. I’d love to see young players coming through and breaking into professional football too, but not at the expense of the club. If the player is good enough, prepared enough, able enough to play in the 1st XI, then he must compete for his place.
In Ryan Bertrand’s case, he was seen as second choice to Jose Bosingwa in the job that position required on the night. For the most part, Bosingwa played very well in holding off Valencia, so it was a very good decision by AVB.
Personally, I don’t agree with the suggestion that multi-millionaire chairman prefer to spend millions of pounds on a player who will score 20 goals a season, over a player who will have the same effect from the youth teams. They are, on the most part, millionaires for a very good reason.
Every so often, a blinding talent comes through the youth system, and forms a core part to a sides long term success. Every so often. Yes, it’s harder for young players to shine in the modern game. When it does happen, the shine is a heck of a lot brighter, the feat more impressive.
My point, in summary, is this: Players should be selected on their ability to perform whatever the required duties are. They should not simply gain preference for coming through the youth teams.