I was interested to see that the EFL have approved a change for the 2018-19 season that will see a minimum of seven home-grown players on the team-sheet for every match whereas it is currently six. They also have ruled that every team sheet should also include one club developed player.
Like most football fans I am always happy to see players developed through the youth system making the first team but only if they are good enough.
However what does home-grown mean exactly? Firstly it does not necessarily mean English and can include a player from any country as long as he was registered with your club or any other club under the jurisdiction of the FA on or before his eighteenth birthday.
A club developed player is one who has been at your club for a minimum of 12 months prior to his U19 season.
Lots of clubs now are registering youngsters from abroad and as long as they meet the criteria they will be classed as home grown or club developed.
It’s designed to increase the number of academy prospects getting through to the first team. If a club does not name seven for any game everyone under that total they will have to reduce the number of substitutes on the bench. Likewise if a team-sheet does not include a “club developed “player then they must reduce their list of substitutes by one.
So someone please explain how sitting on a bench will facilitate development for any youngster? They have to be playing games and surely the best way is to go out on loan at a lower club and get game time under their belts.
For me it also highlights another issue with some youngsters. The less switched on mature youngsters could think that sitting on the bench wearing a first team shirt and being named in the match day programme means they have made it when nothing could be further from the truth.
Being cynical part of me wonders if this new initiative has been driven partly by the academies collectively nationwide. Those in charge of academies throughout the country will immediately be able to highlight the increasing number of players getting through to the first team squad. Making it look like success when in reality it’s the number of first team games a youngster plays that determines if he has made it as a professional and that is down to the manager and not the FA or Academies.
I am sure that any manager would pick a youngster if he thought he could make an impact in the first team and immediately Darren Carter springs to mind no manager would need to be forced to play them or include them on the bench. .
True managers make mistakes when it comes to judging young players in fact the game is littered with them at all clubs.
I love to see young home grown or developed talent making the first team. It should be the highlight of any young player’s career when he is called up to the first team. It should also be a reward for hard work, attitude, character and talent not because someone has dreamed up a rule.
A side effect is that any young player called into the first team squad because the club have to obey the new FA rules will have an agent who will be demanding more money because his young player has made the first team?