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Exciting Youth


smetrov
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We do I beleive have a good youth policy at villa. However as good as it is - I don't think we should rely on it to produce the backbone of our team. If we can sell the players on for £3 or £4m a time - but uncover the odd premier league diamond that has to be regarded as a success.

However the notion that these players can perform the basis of succesfull premier league team is IMO flawed.

If you think the prem groups together the best players from across the globe - the idea that you have more than a couple of these in your back yard just isn't feasible.

Clark looks the man most likley - and he may benefit from the arrival of Mcleish - who I hope will drill that defence into what we know it is capable of.

Gary Gardner is I beleive to young at present - Albrighton I fear could really struggle this season. Bannan is to inconsistent.

So if the Villa board feel they needn't invest millions because of our youth set up - I fear they are being overly optimistic

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The record of the youth and reserve teams clearly gives the board cause for optimism. I wouldn't say it is impossible to build a team from the youth side and bring them through to the first team, we all know Manure have done that in the past. Academys also look beyond the local area nowadays and even sign foreign players.

I think its accepted that the aim of the academy is to find one or two diamonds and the club is not unrealistic to think otherwise however I'm sure the club would prefer to have the likes of Clark, Lihaj and Hogg on the books rather than the unused and overpaid likes of Ireland, Beye and Warnock. I don't see why are back-up players can't be made up from home grown supplies.

We have to be careful selling the odd player for 3 or 4 million mind as sometimes their potential develops later as we have seen with Cahill.

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Too much emphasis was placed on our youth some time back under Ellis as an ecuse to stall investment in the squad. The same is happening now.

As good as our younger players may be, they aint good enough I'm afraid to be top premier league players. They are good enough to be mid table premier league players

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As good as our younger players may be, they aint good enough I'm afraid to be top premier league players. They are good enough to be mid table premier league players

Unfortunately Richard we now at best a midtable premier league club

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  • 1 month later...

Some big personalities have left this summer, Friedel, NRC and Ashley Young,

i couldn't help but think at times last season that Ash should have been took off set pieces simply because he was garbage, there's time and an opportunity now for our youngsters to step up, they managed to tread water on their own at times last season when they seniors were too busy fighting each other. Now the senior players seem to be pulling together maybe, just maybe our young talent can start shining, an oppressive personality like Ashley Young is long gone, and maybe the likes of Bannan, Delph and Albrighton will have the freedom to express themselves more freely.

I really hope they do, otherwise come January Randy may well find he'll need to make a few purchases to keep us in the league again, just like the Bent deal last Jan.

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There's no doubting we have a good youth policy. But as the OP says, you can't forego experience in the hope of repeating Man Utd's once in a century success almost twenty years ago. They won stuff with kids. It pretty much never happened before (maybe Busby) and it hasn't happened since, so basically it's historically safe to say you can't win with kids. I think there's a maximum amount of 'promising youth' you can put into a side before that side becomes too inexperienced and quickly becomes a porous liability. We saw it last season when at one point we had Bannan, Albrighton and Clark in the same midfield. 3 players who would be fine in the side ON THEIR OWN, but together, with no-one else to learn from or receive guidance from, it becomes the blind leading the blind. That's not fair on those players and it's not particularly fair on the fans.

I don't think the board are entirely foregoing expenditure off the back of a promising youth setup. We brought in experience in January rather than rely on Delfouneso who would have been the 'promising youth' striker at the time.

We brought in Bradley on loan and had money set aside for his signing rather than rely on Hogg, Bannan or Osbourne who would've been the highest profile youth central midfielders at the time. He didn't work out, but the policy was there.

We're signing N'Zogbia (hopefully) now rather than going with a youth left winger - and we released Forrester, probably the most likely youth candidate to fill in on the left wing had we reverted to youth.

We've also spent big on Given rather than go with Guzan, Parish or Siegrist. So the club are not completely abandoning the transfer market. It is also quite possible to suggest a starting 11 chock full of experience where the youth are merely waiting in the wings, so we don't have a situation where we have to rely in any way on the youth.

I think McLeish knows fine well what the balance is and I trust he'll find it. I imagine we will use youth; particularly Albrighton who I believe will excel; but that we will use it in moderation and not to the detriment of our results. This I believe is the right way forward. Our youth IS good. They are NOT world beaters and no-one is claiming they are. But let's just give them (the better ones) the chance to show how good they can be when used in a side that has plenty of experience alongside them to guide them along their journey.

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Genuine question .... If several of your young players are actually already the best footballers at the club, what do you do? I'm not daft and I know that putting half a dozen young players in the first team at the same time is a possible recipe for disaster. However playing two or three of the clubs best footballers with experienced seniors around them is the way forward for Villa imo.

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Hell I remember the 2-2 draw at Man United last season.. We played an incredibly young side with Bannan at the center of it and we destroyed them.. If we hadn't lost concentration in the final minutes, we'd have beaten Man United 2-0 with a youth focused side. The likes of Bannan, Gardner, Albrighton are incredible talents I do think we could line up with several of our youth talent in the squad and win most games.

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Im not sure if they are all good enough if I am honest

Lichaj - championship player

Clark - most potential IMO. Think he could be a good player

Bannan - Too lightweight think he may struggle over a season

Allbrighton - Same as Bannan but think he has more potential may struggle aginst physical teams

Gary Gardner - Heard alot of good things but total unknown quantity at this level cant really comment

Fabian Delph - massive season for him. Needs to show his quality now 50/50 on how good he really is

Fonz - Not good enough IMO

Wiemann - Not sure he is ready for the premiership or has the quality. Strikers need to be very special in the mould of Owen, Rooney or Fowler. Not sure if Wiemann is anymore than championship

Baker - not good enough

Herd - not good enough

Hogg - not good enough

Johnson - have not got a clue. anyone seen him to make judgement?

Thats what I think, Clark, Allbrighton, Delph may make an impact. Gary Gardner possibly but will have to see him to make any comment but sounds promising

The rest im not convinced by at all

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Im not sure if they are all good enough if I am honest
I don't doubt you're right. That's not the point though. We don't need them all to be good enough. Just the ones we intend to use in the first team. Most of who you mention will either be farmed out this season or won't get past the reserves - and if they do (Lichaj, Weimann) it will likely be because of catastrophic injuries that we couldn't have catered for with the best will in the world - or they'll get a 10 minute run out here and there. It won't be any great reliance put on them.

The usual candidates that we will use - the Albrightons, Clarks, Delphs - are good enough in my view. I think you might also be slightly under-rating Baker. He has 2 years more developing yet to do than Clark.

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All the players have futures at the club, as long as they aren't all starting at the same time which they won't be.

Albrighton:- Has had one of the best debut seasons a youngster has ever had in the Premiership, but because he started to tire towards the end of the season, people start questioning him. Houllier did the right thing and dropped him as he can't play 30+ games right now. Only the exceptional talents such as Wilshere can do that and thats playing for one of the best teams in England.

Bannan:- I think it's a case of either building a team around him if he wants to be a regular. However the boy has talent, and has a lot of assets which are very useful as a squad member. Even if it doesn't work out here for him he will have a very good career both domestically and at international level. Again had a supposed negative against him as Simon Grayson barely played him at Leeds. Well that was a huge mistake as they failed to get the playoffs and when the fans called out for Bannan in the last few games, he never played and they didn't score a single goal due to the lack of creativity. That was a mistake by Grayson, nothing on Bannans part.

Clark:- Another player who has had a fantastic 'full' debut season. He's made mistakes, and he's got bullied around by some of the bigger strikers but it all comes with experience. If you don't play players like Clark they won't improve. The same happened with Cahill, who although he was a good player at the time has developed into a 15-20m defender.

Delfouneso:- Personally I feel we have to be patient with Nathan, he has fantastic talent but as mentioned by OBE in another thread, he needs time to bulk up a little. Again had a failed loan spell, but it happens. IIRC didn't Gabby have a pretty average loan spell somewhere?

Lichaj:- A player who had an excellent loan spell, he has also had good games already for the club and some bad ones. Again he will learn through experience, and the progress he has made over the past 12 months has been phenomenal. Not good enough to start for the club yet, but is a better squad player to have then the likes of Habib Beye.

Nobody is expecting them all to be top talents, but they all have parts to play at the club and it's better using them then spending money and more wages who would have the same squad role.

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Im not sure if they are all good enough if I am honest
I don't doubt you're right. That's not the point though. We don't need them all to be good enough. Just the ones we intend to use in the first team. Most of who you mention will either be farmed out this season or won't get past the reserves - and if they do (Lichaj, Weimann) it will likely be because of catastrophic injuries that we couldn't have catered for with the best will in the world - or they'll get a 10 minute run out here and there. It won't be any great reliance put on them.

The usual candidates that we will use - the Albrightons, Clarks, Delphs - are good enough in my view. I think you might also be slightly under-rating Baker. He has 2 years more developing yet to do than Clark.

I just really worry about our midfield at the moment. Its very very young apart from Petrov (who I dont think is as bad as people say) and Makoun who is still an unknown quantity. We are all hoping Ireland comes good but it is a bit of a gamble. They are the senior players

Then we have Delph, Bannan, Allbrighton and Gardner. I know Eck said only one more signing which is likely to be another a wide man but I would be a lot more comfortable if we got another centre midfiled player also of some proven quality.

Its a shame the Parker rumours dont look true because I think he would be ideal

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I have no doubt we have a good crop of youngsters but agree that they have to be broken in gradually and played alongside experience in a balanced side.

However, the UEFA rules will mean that, for many clubs, development of your (or bought in) youth will have to be the way forward.

The challenge is bringing in one or two a year and keeping the development going so you constantly have a stream of good additions. In five years time, I would expect Clark, Gardner, Albrighton and Gabby to be in our first 15-16 (alongside Delph who we obviously paid for) and possibly similar for Baker, the Fonz, Wieman, Siegrist and Lichaj. I am not sure about Bannan as we would have to play a three and the right three to facilitate his game. Similarly, I think Hogg and Herd could be good back up/squaddies from what I have seen. They will then be the experienced players that will be helping Johnson, Grealish, Graham etc. come through as the next crop.

You can't do it overnight as (1) they will be too inexperienced and (2) you will not get 11 players through from one year but we should be focused on getting 1 or 2 through a year with maybe a few for sale.

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