September 05, 2007
English youth development 'falling apart"?

Of the starters during the first weekend of this season's English Premier League, only 37 percent were English, compared to 76 percent in 1992. That figure, and other stats -- nearly 70 percent of EPL goals this season have been scored by non-English players -- have renewed criticism of the nation's academy system, which Manchester United coach Alex Ferguson says is "falling apart."

The Guardian's report, "Academies go from substandard to ridiculous" looks at flaws in the English player development -- "Foreign players are technically better than us," says Middlesbrough's head of recruitment, Ron Bone.

And The Times of London quotes former English Premier League stars Patrick Vieira and Ruud Gullit on the topic.

"There are not so many good young English players at many of the clubs and I really believe that the academies are not good enough for the young players between 12 and 15," says Frenchman Vieira, the former Arsenal captain.

The Dutchman Gullit, who played for and coached Chelsea, says: "Not many English youngsters are coming through. They spend fortunes on academies, but the bigger clubs don't use them because they can buy any star they want."