Afternoon folks. Something has been bothering me for some time now and rather than take to social media to rant, I'd prefer others opinions on said topic.
On almost a weekly basis I'm seeing young footballers (fresh from youth football in most cases), bouncing around between different clubs for what are often, NOT the right reasons. I've found myself questioning these reasons and my concern that things stem from an egotistical (be it individual or parental) at such an impressionable point in football careers, has led me to start this discussion.
1) Is it bragging rights?
Are these young footballers so desperate to tell their peers the standard they're are playing is higher than others? Do they get fulfillment from 5-10 mins at the end, (or worst case an unused sub) as long as small brown envelope contains enough pocket money for the weekend? Is it the parents bragging rights? 'My son is better than your son' mentality. 'He was captain of his youth side, so he must surely start in your 1st team', 'but he's played (5 mins) for the first team why should he drop to the reserves'. Some of the reasoning I've heard is truly laughable. There will always be an element of self or parental promotion, but should this warrant a complete leap over the majority, if not all of the adult leagues available?
2) Are they simply not ready?
The number of youth players making the leap from youth football to the upper echelons of Cornish football has increased 10 fold. There seems to be a huge emphasis on development at youth level, but why is this (again, in most but not all cases) completely lost when they transition to the adult game? Should the coaches do more to help them in the transition? Could a bit of honesty go a considerably long way? 'I think while you're developing your footie you'd be better suited to.....' More recently I've witnessed young lads who are physically capable (strong, fast, athletic) but lack the simplest of football fundamentals. The ability to communicate, or make the correct choices under minimal pressure, and even pass a ball more than 5 yards on occasion. However purely based on their accolades as YOUTH players they are selected or pushed straight to the top leagues in the county. The mind boggles.
3) There are exceptions.
I'm under no illusions that there are players, coming from an ever growing Youth Football environment, who are good enough. I've been lucky enough to watch alot of Peninsula football over the last couple of seasons, and they're has been many a stand out performance from 17/18 year old lads.
I personally think the thin line between ready or not ready will always be wobbly. However, with the other leagues in Cornwall (junior and senior) struggling for teams/players, is this not the time to be ensuring young lads get the development they need to eventually reach their goals of hopefully playing as high a level as possible. The opportunity to play men's football has never been so available, yet unless it has some element of 'Oooh look at me' or affiliation to the top level, it's seems there's no interest.
I do hope I'm not the only person of this thinking, and in no way is this a dig at youth or adult coaches, (I am one myself) but surely a concentrated effort to blow less smoke would benefit the youngsters development and aid the transition to Mens football. At the same time benefitting the leagues at each step, rather than having a surplus of young players simply not ready for the level they're trying to achieve.
Thanks for reading.