No Investment + Poor Coaching + Failed Youth Policy = ?
While this summer promises to be yet another change in tack for the club, as Ashley decides to have a punt on another team direction, there is a feeling that the long-standing policy of eventually producing our own players through the academy is failing quickly.
In a never-ending circle to chase down the easiest and cheapest way to remain on the Premier League gravy train, we have seen our senior squad numbers dwindle and club policy shift to a bargain basement recruitment of overseas, mostly French, players. Now we are told we are going to shift this again to a British recruitment in the summer, as if our foreign players who got us to within touching distance at the beginning of the season are somehow to blame for club policy to sell, without replacing those going out the door.
The biggest concern of all though, remains the total lack of players coming through the much vaunted academy set-up, or more correctly, the lack of ability to develop the players that ARE coming through into first team capable players. In fact most of the fans would agree that we have seen some good prospective players actually go backwards at the club.
While no one is questioning the impact injuries to the likes of Vuckic have had on some players’ potential, it seems that there are players clearly getting worse during their time here. A player who comes into the first team and shows any promise seems to disappear from view and eventually written off, when they can’t even get first team action while on loan at a lower league club. Ferguson and Campbell are two examples of this. Now we are hearing stories that Bigirimana might be shown the door, when he looked one of our brightest players last season when called upon.
To this fan, it all points to a severe lack of coaching at a youth level, though the first team management must also take their share of blame. Lack of first team opportunity in favour of playing the likes of Shola or Jonas has certainly hurt the youth, but more seems to hinge on the lack of direction when they do get a look-in. They just look lost, which indicates one of the big Pardew flaws, in expecting the players to coach themselves – otherwise the young players would be played in a position more to their ability and would also look to have a better understanding of their role in the team.
One thing is for certain, the lack of investment in top drawer talent isn’t helping – there is a reason why the likes of Bale, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott etc all cost a fortune and are now top notch players.
However, we should still see players coming through maintaining their current ability, even if they don’t get better, unless it is all being coached out of them by short-sighted coaches who are too busy trying to make round pegs fit in square holes.
Something needs looking at, as this trend needs to change if we are going to move forward with little financial investment…we need to be able to build players up if we can’t buy ready made ones!
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