Football

England policy on youth is damaging World Cup chances

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Following England's unfortunate but somewhat expected departure from another major tournament leads us all to that familiar task of looking for an excuse, a reason why, yet again, they have failed to impress on the world stage.

What is the real reason behind England doing so poorly at major tournaments? Is it possible to pin the results down to one reason, or are there many factors? These are possibly a few of the many questions that flood not only the mind' of England fans but probably make an appearance in the thoughts of foreign players and supporters too.

For former England under-21 coach, Stuart Pearce, the reason why England fail to deliver at international tournaments is all too clear. He attributes England's failings to the policy on fielding young players.

"The answer never lies at major tournaments, it lies in the years in between the major tournaments and the development of our young players," he told talkSPORT.

The current Nottingham Forest manager pointed out that England have not won a single major trophy at youth level for over two decades. 

"Other nations send more of their players to the younger tournaments. They go to the younger tournaments and win more regularly than we do," he added.

"We, as a nation, haven't won anything for 60 years at senior level. We haven't won anything at Under-21 level since 1984.

"The Under-19s haven't won anything for decades. The Under-17s are the only team over the last five years that have been successful. They've won the European Championship twice.

"It's because our best young players are available at that age group.

"When they go beyond the Under-17s that the clubs start pulling them out and we start upgrading them. The age group below becomes weaker. It waters down the whole process."

Pearce also compared the players that played in the under-21 final five years ago for England and Germany to that which had successfully made it through to senior level to represent their sides in the World Cup this year.

Alarmingly six of the players that represented Germany continued their progression from the under-21s to play their part this year at the senior level. England had James Milner in their squad alongside Joe Hart five years ago, but only the latter is established for his country.

This is a prime example of how England's youth system fails to be maintained. 

Pearce said: "Other countries must look at us and laugh at times, they really must.”

The FA must be aware of this fatal flaw in their development of English youth, and the key is to hit the nail on the head as soon as possible. This is the case too for Pearce, who believes the youth teams should be used to their capacity instead of hauling youth players into the senior squad in a blind attempt to hand experience to younger players.

Action is needed and most of it is common sense according to the former England left-back.

“The worst thing you can say to me is, ‘in two years’ time this team will be decent’. It won't be unless you put the process in place that all of these players go to the Under-21 Championship next summer. So (Raheem) Sterling goes, so (Jack) Wilshere goes and (Phil) Jones goes - all those that are Under-21 and available."

Pearce continued: "Common sense says you take [Ashley] Cole because [Luke] Shaw goes to the Toulon tournament, plays five games against the likes of Brazil and Mexico and plays in the Under-21 qualifier. It is common sense.

“I’m not sure what he (Shaw) has learnt from this tournament, apart from Brazil is a great place to visit. I am not being facetious here.

"If you asked me, from a purely footballing point of view, I would say five games in Toulon would be a lot more beneficial at international level than not kicking a ball in Brazil."

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Topics:
Stuart Pearce
Frank Lampard
James Milner
Joe Hart
England Football
World Cup
Football
Steven Gerrard

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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