DAVID PYE: We must clear the footballing way for our talented kids
9:00pm Friday 6th September 2013 in Sport
NEW FA chairman Greg Dyke set the cat amongst the pigeons with his first speech on Wednesday regarding the future of English football.
Some of his statements are contentious and many fans of the national team will take issue with his dismissal of England not winning the World Cup until 2022.
But I actually respect his grip on reality and agree with his sentiment that nobody expects Roy Hodgson’s boys to return from Rio next June with the gold trophy – even though we hope he’s wrong.
And while he sounded more like a banking chief executive at times rather than a man in charge of football, the fact he is determined to put his stamp on the job is a good thing after the lethargic David Bernstein.
His main target, for me, should be dealing with the development of our young players and boosting the talent of English stars – something that has been on the wane for far too long.
Dyke has criticised the influx of overseas stars in the Premier League era which he feels has hampered the progress of young English players.
I do not agree. I think having some of the world’s best players gracing our game has been a positive factor in developing the ability of those youngsters breaking through.
I’m sure the likes of Paul Scholes, David Beckham et al learned a lot from training alongside someone like Eric Cantona, and Arsenal youngsters similarly working with Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry.
At Wanderers, I’m sure the local talent trying to make the grade benefitted from seeing first-hand the genius of Jay-Jay Okocha and Youri Djorkaeff. That is surely better for their development than it was in the days when our game was dominated by home nation players and the idea of yoga and eating healthily was just fanciful.
You could argue more run of the mill foreign talent coming to these shores could have been restricted, but when clubs are demanding hiked transfer fees for home-grown talent, can you blame clubs for looking to Scandinavia and Eastern Europe?
I do not believe we have fewer talented youngsters out there in this generation, it is just the way they are developed in the academies and the chances they get for first-team football that need addressing.
You could argue more kids prefer to play Championship Manager on their computers than in the Championship nowadays, but I still see them in the parks with jumpers for goalposts.
It is about making sure the avenues are not turned into cul-de-sacs for their progression to those first teams or else we may have to wait a lot longer than nine years for World Cup glory.
Convincing Premier League clubs to get on board with opening up that yellow brick road could be Dyke’s biggest challenge.