Hello lads and lasses! It’s been a while now since we had “The talk”. Don’t worry lads! I am back. I don’t want to waste any more of your time so let’s just get straight to it.
As weeks progress into months and eventually seasons, we have seen younger and younger players making debuts and cementing their places in senior squads. From the days when Cesc Fabregas was making his senior debut for Arsenal at the age of 16 in 2003 to now the likes of Kylian Mbappe winning international tournaments before he is even yet to turn 20, the youth is becoming a more dominant factor in sport, let alone football. In September, the world was shocked to see Naomi Osaka, a girl who grew up watching and idolising Serena Williams beating her and for once we saw Williams eat humble pie. Let me list 5 teams that are revolutionising the sport by giving a lot of game time to the youth.
- As Monaco
As Monaco have not had a good season so far, already knocked out of the champions league and with a manager in Thierry Henry who is still struggling to adjust to life as a head coach since abandoning his duties as a Sky sports pundit and assistant Belgium coach. However, Monaco have had those seasons before where they produce quality players and sell them for a huge profit. Other times, it just doesn’t work because not all players produced are top quality. A perfect example is this season. Two seasons ago however, the squad was unstoppable, winning Ligue 1 in a league where PSG is the dominant team. The team boasted the likes of Benjamin Mendy, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Thomas Lemar, Bernardo Silva and of course, Kylian Mbappe. They also went on to reach two domestic cup finals and a champions league semi-final before selling half their squad for large sums of money.
Arsenal, especially under Arsene Wenger, is another team that have always emphasized on youth. The move to the Emirates in 2006 financially shackled them and thus they had to sell their best players and promote youth players to the senior team. Players like Jack Wilshere and Nicklas Bendtner were beneficiaries of the system. In the 2008-09 season Wenger’s young guns reached a Champions league and Fa cup semi-final and managed to finish in top 4 with a very young squad that included the likes of teenagers Carlos Vela, Bendtner, Wilshere, Ramsey and Theo Walcott. Wenger had also brought in youngsters like Samir Nasri and and the team captain was Cesc Fabregas at the age of 21 after William Gallas had been stripped off the Captain’s armband for criticizing the young players. Last season, they were statistically the team that gave the most number of minutes to young players in the premier league and the under 23s team ended up winning the premier league with Reiss Nelson winning the competition’s player of the year.
Southampton have been known to produce x factor players that end up becoming world beaters, with Gareth Bale being the biggest and most successful product of the system. Players like Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Theo Walcott are also major beneficiaries of the system. In the 2013-14 season, they boasted fielding the likes of Luke Shaw, Nathaniel Clyne, Callum Chambers and Adam Lallana who were all sold for large amounts of money at the end of that season, mostly to Liverpool. They also bring in players on the cheap, develop them and sell them at a profit. Players like Virgil Van Dijk and Victor Wanyama are perfect examples.
- Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid and Tottenham hotspur have one thing in common.Their net spend is not as high as that of their Major European rivals. Strangely enough, they have still managed to get to 5 European cup finals in the last 10 years under Diego Simeone. But their case is rather different. They prefer getting young players on the cheap and sell them for huge profit rather that nurturing their own home grown talent though they still boast quality home grown talent in players like Fernando Torres, Saul Gonzalez and Koke Resurreccion.Their most recognizable department development is the forward position.Torres, Sergio Aguero, Diego Costa, Radamel Falcao and Antoine Griezmann have all ended up becoming world class forwards. With the exception of Torres, these players were brought in from elsewhere, developed and became world beaters before being sold. Griezmann has continuously been linked away from the Wanda Metropolitano in the recent past.
Man united may be large spenders in the transfer market today, but they still emphasise on developing youth and boast the likes of Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford in the senior team. Sir Alex Ferguson was not a fan of spending lots of money and used to keep his faith in homegrown talent with the ‘class of 92’ which saw Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, the Neville Brothers, David Beckham and Nicky Butt break into the first team and end up delivering huge success. Whatever you think of Man united today, they are still the pioneers of developing talent.
Thanks to the youth, we are able to know there is a guarantee for being successful in the present and the future. The France team that won the World Cup in July this year boasts an average age of 21 years. These boys are not even in their prime yet and I would not be surprised if they pulled another Spain of winning back to back international tournaments.
What do you think lads? Do you think I should have added anything? Let me know in the comments section below.Also, if you enjoyed this article, give it a like, a share, a reblog, a follow and as always, I’ll write more soon.