Monday, 8 September 2008

Keeping the Academy players

Widely reported comments from Mark Hughes today, on the future of the academy:
“It’s vitally important that every successful club has a group of players that have a real empathy and feeling for the club. We certainly have that with the lads that have come through from the Academy."
He went on to say that picking Academy players was not just a 'token gesture' but was in the interest of the team.

I think he's absolutely right.

It's not just that to buy in a whole new team would be rather vulgar, and that it would be a real shame to see Academy graduates like Micah Richards and Michael Johnson pushed out.

But that the best teams are not just a collection of the best players, but have a genuine identity as a unit. In many cases, such as the great Manchester United teams over the last twelve years, this is based on a core of players who grew up together.

And in Hart, Richards, Kompany and Johnson we have a spine of players, all born between 1986 and 1988, around whom we can build a team for the future.

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