David Moyes has explained that Manchester United sent so many youngsters out on loan because the gap between the Premier League and Under-21s football in England is a hindrance to their progression.
United sent 11 youngsters out on loan yesterday in and around the football leagues in what was an unprecedented amount of movement that surprised a lot of people, more for the fact it all happened on deadline day than anything.
The set-up of the Under-21s competition in England has been a cause for concern for those who follow our academy because it isn’t a league which really breeds competitive football, and that is why Moyes decided to make such a swathe of deals yesterday.
“We want to give them some experience of senior football,” Moyes told MUTV.
“They have played a lot of reserves football but will be hoping to get a game on a Saturday for a league team. A few of them will get some match practice, hopefully.
“Part of their development when they are in the youth team is making the next step to the reserves and then you want to get into the first team. But you find the jump between the reserves and first team is so big nowadays.
“Actually, the games programme is probably not the best in this country. The difference between an Under-21 game and a Premier League game is so big, what tends to happen is these boys like to get some games and ask: ‘Can we go on loan?’
“It gives us the chance to see them in league football. We have staff who watch all the games and reports are brought back on how they are doing. It is part of their development. Maybe, in time, if there was a different sort of games programme, we wouldn’t need to put players out on loan.”
If you look at Barcelona, they have one of the best academies in the world in La Masia but the presence of a Barcelona B team in the Spanish second division gives them a distinct advantage over England.
Their best youngsters are given regular, competitive football from a much younger age and are able to do so from within the club, rather than being sent out on loan so their development can remain localised up until the point where they are ready for the first team.
The concept of ‘B’ teams in English football is something that has always been a point of staunch debate and there are those that feel it would damage the lower leagues but if we, as a country, want to try to compete with the best in the world in terms of youth development, then there simply has to be an overhaul of the systems our youngsters currently play in.