Last weekend’s match involving Manchester City and Newcastle enabled us to gain a glimpse of a forgotten man Scott Sinclair.
He came on as an 82nd minute substitute for David Silva, to give him his 12th appearance of the season in all competitions. This is a player who won Swansea promotion to the Premier League, followed by a stellar debut season for Swansea and is now struggling to get ten minutes in a game never mind a starting place.
I don’t blame City for not starting him - they obviously have better midfielders to play in his position with the likes of David Silva and Samir Nasri. What I am annoyed at is the fact British youngsters are moving to big clubs too early in their careers and this is hampering their development.
When a player is in his late teens or early twenties, to play every week is more important than the wage packet at the end of the week. Sir Alex Ferguson famously had the youngsters of 92 at Manchester United.
He knew that if players like Beckham Giggs and Scholes were good enough, given time they would gain a very good wage but at the early stage of their careers, they needed to play regularly and work hard in training. The fact is Sir Alex Ferguson was right, as these players are model professional who have earned a lot of money but accomplished so much in the game as well.
Another example of a player whose form suffered from joining Manchester City, which has also hampered his England aspirations,is Adam Johnson. After his Manchester City nightmare he decided to move to the north east to Sunderland. His recent form is showing no signs of the £10m Sunderland have paid for him. His touch is off, his passing is disastrous and he seems to lack the confidence to take on his man. I have no doubt that a reason for this is due to his lack of playing time at Manchester City, he was an exciting prospect for the future but was left to rot on the subs bench. Now he’s a player who has failed to develop and has turned into an average player.
Although this is a damming condemnation of Johnson, I will say this, he still has time to flourish and maybe Paolo Di Canio is the sort of manager to ensure he blossoms, as so many of us predicted.
The issue is why don’t clubs like Manchester City take these young English footballers and loan them out? Other clubs like Chelsea have done it with Thibaut Courtois, so why don’t Manchester City? A cynical view would be City need home grown players for European competitions and therefore sign British players, who are very good players at the time, to register them for these competitions.
This approach ensures City can compete in the European competitions with no regard to the players’ need to play week in week out to develop. I don’t necessarily buy into these claims, I do think they buy these players for their talent but the home grown status would be seen as an added bonus.
Overall all I want is for players to say no to the clutches of large clubs in order to develop themselves as an individual. Jack Butland is a prime example - he turned down Chelsea in order to play for Stoke stating that he needed to ensure he would play first team football.
I wish more English youngsters had the courage and will power to say no to the big wage packets and chose first team football instead.
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