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  • that`s the maximum amount of coaching a club can give an U16 player in England. And we wonder why the technique and skills of English players is so poor compared to other European countries.

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    • "Fergie probably thinks the Copacabana is running in the 3.15 at Newbury." Well he definitely knows where the premiership title is situated.

    • Well said Dave. See, I knew someone could make my point without deviation, repetition or exaggeration.

      Maybe somewhere we should have been considering whether the Barca success is just a flash in the pan. After all, every time Brazil won the world cup we didn't all go out and say "the problem is that British kids are expected to go to school rather than showing off their footie skills to the girls on the Copacabana for six hours every day."

      Fergie probably thinks the Copacabana is running in the 3.15 at Newbury.


    • Actually I think you summed this well on your previous post: "I suppose all I am after is more choice and a system that improves a child's technical ability a little more than the current system. "

      Personally I think that is a valid and noble goal. But the question from this post is for whose benefit? If it’s for the kids, then great, but if it’s all about just ensuring our clubs or our national team is the best then its quite it’s quite a different thing. In fact we already know what it takes to be successful, and if that is all it’s about then we should drop the niceties and just adopt the old East German system. It may not have been good for the kids, but it surely won plenty of Olympic medals.

      I know that is one heck of a leap from what you’re saying and I’m not accusing you of wanted to abuse children, but exaggeration is a useful tool in making a point. If this is about being flexible in training methods and times to allow the kids to be the best they can be whether they aspire to be professionals or just play for the love of the game, then I'm all for it. But we also have to be aware there are plenty around willing to take advantage of young talent for their own goals (clubs, supporters, and even some over zealous parents) and from them it’s not a bad idea to ensure there is some mechanism of protection.

    • whats to stop the kids going out and playing football amongst their friends or having the appetite to improve themselves or do they love their game consoles more?

    • OK so when England or your club fail in the World Cup or Champions League, can we not see any moaning about lack of quality or ability? That's all we see after a defeat in a major tournament from press and supporters.

      We wont ever be on a level playing field with other parts of the world, like Spain and China, so we can't expect to win much. I suppose I am selfish and hope their are parents/youngsters happy to be pushed if it makes our players better. But you're right, as a parent, we rarely want to see that.

      I don't want to see these strict regimes in place. Just a little more flexibility and for this country to keep an open mind. And maybe draw inspiration from other countries, without going the whole hog.

    • "What age did you see yourself stop becoming a child?"

      Erm - 43.

      Perhaps more pertinently I have an 11 year old son. He certainly has a lot of growing up to do yet. We have various ages of responsibility in this country, the most significant being 18. While the abilities of adulthood don't automatically arrive on your 18th birthday, I don't think it's reasonable to assume that maturity is reached seven years earlier.

      " there are parents [who] put the child's education ahead of their own needs."

      There are, and the boarding school system is an obvious parallel. However, I have the feeling that sending kids to boarding school is done more for the benefit of the parents (who can buy the responsibiity of bringing up the kid and so offload it to someone else) rather than the child. Not always, of course.

      In general, I don't think sporting boarding schools is something to be encouraged. Sport should be more for the enjoyment and benefit of those taking part than a Chinese style if-we-ain't-winning-gold-we-ain't-doing-it-right philosophy.


    • It is a little sad - for a parent.

      Robert, just one final thing (before I put my side of this argument to bed). What age did you see yourself stop becoming a child? I'd say mine was at senior school (11). I found senior school put me in a shell and I lost alot of what I thought was special - my childhood. Puberty had alot to do with that. But I soon accepted that I was growing up to an adult and my best childhood years were between the ages of 5 and 10. My best memories are from 5-10. So if we 'pushed' our 'kids' a little more between the ages of 11 and 16, are they really losing much in terms of their childhood?

      I admit I'd only want my child living at an academy if he were truly special. Otherwise It'd be a sacrifice I'd not want to make as would love to see my child day in day out. But there are parents different to me and put the child's education ahead of their own needs.

      I suppose all I am after is more choice and a system that improves a child's technical ability a little more than the current system.

    • "Barca have the kids live at the academy from when they are 11"

      How depressing.


    • The whole thing is predicated on a what-if!

      Why isn't 90 minutes a day in tactical and technical training enough?

      What this is really about is the desire to take boys at 11, or whenever, and totally immerse them in football so that the competition over there doesn't do better. It is only caring about the ones who succeed. We all think Xavi and Iniesta (nearly said Messi, oops) and Beckham and Giggs. We don't think Smith and Jones and Oick who failed.

      I am reminded of the surveys we hear about which say something like "Interviews with prisoners demonstrate that prison sentences aren't a deterrent."


    • Neil, it is a good article but again to steal Robert's point it only looks at the upside of the extra training. 300 Spaniards plying their trade as professional footballers around the world sounds great, but how many kids go into the system to get those 300? What is the drop out rate, and what happens to them? The article seems to paint the rosy picture that those that don't get into Barca's first team end up in the second division or overseas, when in fact the vast majority of pre teens who enter these academies never play professional football as adults.

      Don't get me wrong the 90 minute rule does seem arbitrary to me, and if it were increased or abolished I'm sure some players would benefit, along with the clubs they are signed to. But before you can think changing any rule you've got to ask why was it put there in the first place, and what are both the upside and downside of changing it? What happens to a kid’s education if he's expected to spend 4-6 hours focused on footie a day? Fine if he makes it, as no-one cares if Rooney knows long division, but what about the other 98.5% who don't make it?

      You may point back to the article and say Barca have the kids live at the academy from when they are 11 and ensure they are educated beyond football and prepared for life even if football is not their path. Good for Barca I'd say, but do you really believe that most football clubs would take the same altruistic approach? Maybe you'd like to think your club would, but I'd suggest we don't delude ourselves. Top clubs already treat youngsters as meat now, sure they heap money and benefits on those that look to be the next big thing, but will cut loose any they think won't make the grade.

      It’s a conveyor belt factory mentality already with every club trying to find the next Messi, and with no restrictions I'd suggests most clubs would speed up that conveyor belt as the rewards are just too great to play Mr. nice guy.

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