Premier League chief plans youth overhaul

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Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore insists a radical shake-up of youth development at top-flight clubs can help England's cause.

Scudamore says he and the clubs "suffered" from England's World Cup failure and the new plan will raise the quality of players available.

"What we can't do is have a knee-jerk reaction and alter everything we do, but it hurts us as much as it hurts anybody and we do suffer," said Scudamore.

"It absolutely strengthens our resolve in terms of youth development and to make sure that the maximum number of young English players are identified to give the England team the best chance."

The reform, possibly including 'football schools', will see top-flight academies told to provide 15-20 hours of coaching for their nine to 16-year-olds instead of the current five hours.

The huge increase in hours would bring young players more in line with those in countries such as Holland, and academies will have to work with schools and open during summer holidays to accommodate the rise.

It follows a review by Ged Roddy, the Premier League's director of youth development, who has spent months comparing youth systems in Spain, Holland and Germany and in other sports such as swimming and cycling.

The plan was agreed by the 20 clubs before England's failure at the World Cup and Scudamore insisted this was not an admission that there were too many foreign players in the top flight.

Scudamore said: "It's not an acceptance that we have to do something about the foreign players, it's the opposite: if you are going to make it as an English player into our first teams you have got to be world class.

"There were 222 English-qualified players who played first-team football in the Premier League last season and we believe that is enough to find 11 to perform in international competition. What we really want is an England manager who is spoiled for choice."

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