Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Youth comes at a price in Premiership

Football stars are getting younger and younger, but the race to youth is costing clubs dearly. Over the weekend we saw Tottenham gift West Ham, Manchester United hand Bolton a winner, and Sunderland open the flood gates against Everton. Kids were all at fault.

I have complained about this before, younger players may be exciting and athletic, but they are not skilled like you see here. Clubs are obsessed with giving younger and younger players a go, but all I see happening is more mistakes and a replacement of ability with the power footballer, where brawn makes up for missing years of refinement.

Will this trend stop? No, of course not. Especially considering the price of a seasoned professional. Should it? It's debatable. Just look at 1995 and the great Ajax team that won Europe and the 'you can't win anything with kids' of Manchester United that won the double. On the other hand, look at these clangers from the weekend:

Sloppy defending saw Tottenham's Younes Kaboul, 21, clear into Luis Boa Morte which ended up gifting Carlton Cole an open goal. Kaboul was substituted shortly after the half. Snicker if you want, but I doubt Ricardo Rocha would have done that. Look how many goals Tottenham have conceded.

Manchester United's Gerard Pique, 19, has tons of talent, but a rush of self assurance saw him leave his marking duties in the box and miss a clearance to gift Anelka a Bolton winner.

And Sunderland defender Paul McShane, 21, was under no pressure but completely missed a clearance to gift Everton the opener. His performance went downhill from there as three times Sunderland conceded from long, long, long balls and were a shocking mess at the back the entire game to the tune of a 7-1 scoreline that could easily have been 12-1.

Let's not even discuss Newcastle. If you thought Titus Bramble was the problem, well...

Of course a young player needs a chance to prove himself and you improve most thru match play. Understood, but too often a player at age 26 is considered too old.

And that leads me to my last point. England are going to miss Euro 2008. My number one reason for this failure is a tie between McClaren's inept tactics and England players obsession with money, but a second is harder to discern and has to do with all this young international potential entering the Premiership from abroad stifling the development of English kids who end up aged 26 in the Championship and considered past their chance.

There needs to be a balance between youth and experience, and this mania towards youth has gone too far.

It's a shame, especially considering the stayed excuse is to say English players are too expensive. I disagree: the obsession with youth drives price speculation. The mantra "give young players a chance" should be replaced with "have a second look at someone that is not 18, might not become World Player of the Year, but might also not gift points".

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

tough situation for england players

cant get a place in a good side and when they join a good side they sit the bench and watch the foreigners play

look at stevie sidwell

11/27/2007 1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good article, mate.

11/27/2007 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

clubs like Arsenal are killing our talent they are a disgrace and do not deserve to be called and "English" club anymore.

11/27/2007 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what!? Rocha wouldn't have done that?Who remembers the Carling Cup semi final second leg at the Emirates last season?He decided to do a diving header clearance 8 yards in his own box straight to Aliadiere who duly dispatched it into the net.One of the worst but most comical attempts @ clearing a ball i'd seen in years..

11/27/2007 7:52 PM  
Anonymous Betting Blog Spotter said...

Yes it was a moot point this weekend, young defenders making costly mistakes for their sides - although I think Sunderland would still have lost even without McShane - he had a beast didn't he! PIque's mistake looked bad as he just missed the ball - but United defended the free-kick badly as a team, with Evra marking Davies ??? Not clever! They are all defenders though, so it's not young players under scrutiny but young defenders and I think everyone in football knows that defenders mature into better players while strikers lose their edge as time goes on. Roy Keane could still play CB in the Premiership and do a better job than McShane though!

11/30/2007 12:22 AM  

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