Hoddle: More needs to be done to bring talented youngsters through

Glenn Hoddle believes more must be done to develop youngsters who don’t make the grade at clubs like Chelsea.

The Hayes-born former England boss, who played for and managed the Blues, has called for the Football Association to address the issue of the lack of English players at the top level.

Chelsea are keen for the likes of Josh McEachran, Nathaniel Chalobah, Patrick Bamford and George Saville to make an impact at Stamford Bridge and have had high hopes for other home-grown youngsters in recent years.

But English players continually struggle to make the grade at the country’s biggest clubs and Hoddle feels too many are then drifting away from the game rather than being encouraged to rebuild their career.

“There could be a number of reasons why clubs like Chelsea are poor at bringing through young English players,” he told West London Sport.

“It might be a cultural situation in that area, I don’t know, but the best teams in whatever area – north, south, east, west – normally end up getting the best young players.

Josh McEachran of Chelsea
Chelsea hope the likes of McEachran develop.

“The problem is they might take those players at 12 years old and then they let them go. A club like Chelsea might have loads of kids come through just to get one player.

“So there’s a fall-out and what clubs have to do, and this is not derogatory to any club in particular because they are trying to make them into professionals, is be responsible for them.

“Chelsea are dominant in that west London area, so that fall-out will happen. But a lot of players lose their love for the game because of it and grow out of football.”

Hoddle recently launched Zapstarz, a national skills-improvement programme and competition for youngsters aged eight to 16.

It is part of a campaign to develop the skills of future generations of British footballers.

His views have been sought by FA chairman Greg Dyke. And Hoddle, who won 53 England caps, is one of many prominent figures in the game to have called upon the governing body to aid the development of English players who are seemingly being hampered by the influx of foreigners.

The 55-year-old also believes ‘neutral’ football academies, which are common in other parts of the world, could provide the answer to England’s problems at senior level.

“Young players could get picked up from our Zapstars initiative and still be dropped by an academy in favour of a foreign player further down the line,” he said.

“The FA have to change some rules. I’ve said it on record and I’ve said it to Greg Dyke: unless we go back to England being the leaders of academies and schools of 12 to 16-year-olds then we will continue to suffer.

“Lots of players are getting their hearts broken because they’ve been at clubs for three years and then suddenly they’re not good enough.

“Whereas, in a neutral academy, if they’re good enough then they’re coached and they’ve got the hours under their belt, and if they’ve got the desire at 16 then they’ll be signing for people.

“We’ve got to make them as good as the Spanish players, as good as the French, and better than the Africans and the South Americans. That is the task and Zapstars can have a contribution to that.”

Hoddle added: “I really truly believe unless we go down that road then we won’t be able to catch up. We need to overtake these other countries.

“It hasn’t been our priority over the last 30 years or so but the FA are trying to change it now. Rules are changing.

“The focus must now become ‘how do we get young players to master that football?’”



Follow West London Sport on Twitter
Find us on Facebook