Football

Barca academy sets benchmark for English

Barca academy sets benchmark for English (©GettyImages)
Barca academy sets benchmark for English (©GettyImages).

In terms of footballing academies in the world of football, there is none better than 'La Masia'. The treasure that belongs to current European champions Barcelona, something that explains the pure brilliance behind the clubs success.

The academy houses more than 300 young, talented players within the ranks of Barcelona, and has proved to be a key factor in the success of the current first team - as well as the dominance Spain have shown at an international level.

In the most recent UEFA Champions League final at Wembley, an astonishing seven of Barcelona's side were products of the academy - a feat that most top European clubs can only dream of.

A certain Lionel Messi - three time World Player of the Year - is the most well know success to come through the club, along with World Cup winners Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Carles Puyol to name but a few.

This is an example of how a football club should run - it functions not only the 'correct' way to play, but the attitudes that many perceive to be 'old fashioned' which help the players develop not only as footballers, but as people also.

The requirement for the youth teams to do homework and have early nights are examples of the aspects that the club insist on in order for a good education in addition to the footballing side.

Current Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina spoke about this, saying: "They say that they don't just grow you as a footballer at La Masia but also as a person and it's true.

"You can learn to respect others and also to sharpen up your ideas. I grew up much more quickly there."

One may suggest the most important factor of this institute is the philosophy they promote - something that England needs to try and incorporate - where currently many argue the English clubs turn athletes into footballers; not footballers into athletes.

"Size is not important," says Capellas. "Most important is that the player has talent, that they can play with the ball, not that they are the strongest or tallest."

In England there have been a number of top class footballers come through the ranks of the academies.

Take West Ham United. 'The academy of football' has brought the talents of Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand and Jermain Defoe to the English game, which shows they must be doing something right.

Also, Manchester United continually produce young talents. One of the main reasons why they have been such a success over the years is that they do not have to spend millions of pounds every year to help build the squad.

This is not suggesting United have never spent a penny on a player, but as far as English clubs go they, as well as West Ham, have tended to produce top talent - something that Newcastle United are looking to try and achieve.

The club from the North East have, over the past few years, been trying to emulate the academy of Barcelona - something that owner Mike Ashley is keen to invest in.

The Magpies academy manager, Joe Joyce, recently spoke out about the desire for the club to sustain a category one status for their own academy. "For about four years now we have been showing the players clips of Barcelona."

"What they have is a template, they have a model and they have a system and a philosophy that anybody who comes into their club adheres to and that is something we want here.

"We want not just good players but players who can represent the team with credit and who ultimately develop into good young men."

This is creditable from Newcastle - something that every Premier League club should look into - the country on a footballing scale would benefit no end.

With the current national side coming under much scrutiny over the past few years, it cold be a transition that is required to help progress England into a top footballing nation.

This evidently, will not happen over night, but as teams like Newcastle continue to persist on improving the style of academy football - slowly but surely it could be argued that things may start to look up on an international level.

Current FA director of football development, Trevor Brooking, gave his opinion on the matter by stating: "We must all accept that for a country of some 60 million people, we are not producing the depth of players at the top level with the technical skills now required by the major clubs and international teams.

"If we want to increase the number of English players competing at the highest level, radical change is needed."

The level that the Camp Nou club have reached is unbelievable - if clubs from England met even 50% of this, England as a nation would start to see incredible improvements, something that is much needed in many peoples opinion.

Topics:
Football
Premier League
Newcastle United

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