Villas-Boas calls for 'B' teams
Chelsea boss thinks Spanish system should be looked at
By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @skygraemebailey. Last Updated: January 20, 2012 10:39am
Andre Villas-Boas: Chelsea boss wants youth system in England looked at
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has added his backing to calls for a change to the youth development system in England.
The Chelsea manager has backed the idea of possible feeder clubs, which has already been suggested by the likes of former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez and Blues predecessor Carlo Ancelotti.
Villas-Boas admits England should look to Spanish football, where top-flight clubs field 'B' teams in the lower divisions, some of whom even play in the second tier.
The Portuguese tactician believes non-competitive action is hampering some of England's best young talent.
The idea of feeder clubs has long been dismissed by the Football League, and any suggestion has never carried any favour with supporters either.
But Villas-Boas feels that having feeder clubs in the same country is an idea that warrants investigation.
"The youth development system in England is not right, in my belief. There is plenty of effort and talks to get it right but in my opinion it is not," said the Chelsea boss.
"The reserve team league is not competitive. The youth levels are not competitive enough. The FA Youth Cup: does it favour talent or competition?
"The youth development system in England is not right, in my belief. There is plenty of effort and talks to get it right but in my opinion it is not"
Andre Villas-Boas Quotes of the week
"In my opinion there is a missing link between age groups in all competitions. There should be national championships played between teams from around the country.
"The older ones should play nationally. The younger ones should play regionally. You promote more talent and competitiveness and it is that which generates talent and willingness to drive."
It was put to him that at Barcelona, Pep Guardiola has given first-team debuts to 25 players who have been promoted from the club's feeder team since he took over as manager in 2008.
"Why had Chelsea failed to bring any significant player through from the youth team since John Terry's emergence more than 10 years ago?
"Because the gap between the reserve team and the first-team is immense here.
"Barcelona 'B' play in the equivalent of the Championship. If the European model is applied in England, it could be tested.
"The reserve team serves the first-team, but it doesn't serve the progression of talent coming through.
"It [buying a feeder club] could be a solution. There is more of a cultural identity [with the parent club] if it's called a 'B' team. It's the same name, the same environment. If it's a feeder club, I couldn't call a player up to my team until the transfer window opens.
"What happens in Barcelona 'B' is a good model in terms of competitions. If the talent is playing in [a feeder club] in a competitive league you can call up players, there is immediate identification by the players with the process you're trying to implement in your first team.
"And it could be a great benefit because you don't have to work with a 26-man squad, but a 19-man squad and just recall the best young guys.
"If Ryan [Bertrand, who has had seven loan periods] and Josh [McEachran] could make the jump from Championship to Premiership every week, their involvement would be better.
"[In Spain] the older ones play nationally and the younger ones regionally. If the kids weren't able to win when they were young, they won't make it when they face the massive challenge."