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Too Much Too Soon?

Thursday 3rd March 2016
Will putting young players in the spotlight put too much pressure on them?

Benik Afobe, Marcus Rashford, Delle Alli, Danny Drinkwater, Eric Dier, Harry Kane and that's just for starters.

With such an abundance of emerging young talent, it is hard not to get more than a little excited about the young players that are starting to emerge in England.

But hold your horses, there's a reason England haven't won an international competition since 1966 regardless of the talent and it can be boiled down simply to the pressure.

It's a taboo word in the media but we put a ridiculous amount of pressure on any emerging talent, who whether due to a lack of moral fibre or bad advice often fails to handle it.

Take for instance Paul Gascoigne, one of the most talented players the country has ever produced who fell apart on the pitch and off it in front of our eyes.

Due to the heavy spotlight on English players the minute a young player puts in a good performance he suddenly has the spotlight thrust upon him.

In a matter of minutes, he is a regular starter for club and country, Roy Hodgson in particular is a terrible one for it, giving starts to Zaha, Ryan Mason and Jesse Lingard.

Though in the England managers defence a mixture of media pressure and the fear of the player being poached from another country has often swayed his selection decisions.

This a distinct problem in football today, especially in England, as soon as a player effectively breaks into the first team he has royalties and expectations cast upon him.

Look at the case of Marcus Rashford.  The Sun online is reporting that the Manchester United striker is being given a new contract worth 30x the £500 a week he is already thought to be on. A ludicrous amount. Especially as the youngster is yet to really prove himself.

Ok, he has been in blistering form scoring four goals from five shots in two games for Manchester United, but it's laughable to give a player who is only jut 18 that amount of money and expect him to stay grounded.

With the money flying around in football, it is hard for any youngster to stay focused, this is where it comes down to coaching and the player mentalities.

Often it's the mentality that is lacking, once they've made it players can be accused of becoming lazy and inconsistent. Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, in particular, can have the argument of inconsistency thrown their way as both players seemed to have peaked at an early age.

What's the answer? Bring back youth players cleaning out the changing rooms, perhaps a bit archaic.

Put a salary cap on young players? A nice idea, but you'd never get all the clubs –especially the big ones- to agree to it.

Bring back the hunger, somehow bring back the determination through coaching that will keep young players ground and performing.

Until something is done expect a lot of youngsters to peak too soon and fade into relative obscurity, such is the legacy of English youth football.
Phill Inman
I'm 23 years old and followed football all my life. Still waiting for my talent and prowess to get spotted on the pitch, until that happens I hope you enjoy reading my articles.

Total articles: 17

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