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Kmcalpin

How Successful Is Our Youth System?

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We seem to be going through a bit of a lean spell just now with few young prospects having appeared in the last couple of years and seemingly nobody on the horizon with the possible exception of Steven Lawless. Probably last two successes have been Jamie Murphy and Shaun Hutchinson and they haven't fully proved themselves yet.

 

Learnt a surprising fact yesterday at the game. What do Celtic's James Forrest and Darren McGeoch have in common with Brian Easton, James Macarthur and James McCarthy? Yes, they're all former Accies players. Rangers have just snaffled 4 of their youngsters as well.

 

I think we ought to be looking closely at whats happening across the Clyde.

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Plus Hutch was not a total product of ourselves was he, most of the time at Wallsend...

 

Youth Development seems to be a joke for most of Scottish football, other than the lower leagues where the best ones are plucked from.

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Players coming through the youth system at any club is always going to be cyclical. The current u/19 squad imho has 3 or 4 potential 1st team players.

Unfortunately it is not my opinion that counts so these guys may never make it to the top level at Well. When promoting these guys into the 1st team squad the manager and KB have their own take on what is required of them, Craig Brown and Mark McGhee had differing views so it is really difficult to say who will progress and become established.

 

I am a bit concerned that the u/19's play a different formation to the 1st team but am assured this is to allow the boys to learn the professional game properly. I reckon they should mirror the 1st team so that in the event of being called up there is a straightforward transition.

 

Despite my reservations about the u/19's tactics etc, I cannot agree with the idea that 'Youth Development is a joke' ! Having seen first hand the amount of work and effort that goes into every club by the Youth Departments I can assure you it is taken very seriously and each club is always trying to promote and find 1st team quality players. For 99% of clubs this is the only way forward due to the crippled state Scottish football is in financially.

 

Accies have done well recently, but so too have Celtc, Hibs, St Mirren and Aberdeen.

 

As I say I feel there are 3 or 4 excellent prospects in the u/19s who might be seen in 1st team squads in the near future.

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if I was a youth player Id honestly look at other clubs rather than us now, we just do not promote guys from the youth teams and havent for 2 or 3 years, guys like Lawless,Halsman + McKinnon etc have impressed in the u-19`s,got a1st team contract and loan move to a div2/3 club, impressed there, in the case of Lawless + Halsman at least had 1 or 2 first team games and impressed there as well and STILL are getting splinters in there arse sitting in the stand/bench when they are with us, just what do they need to do to get an opportunity?

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if I was a youth player Id honestly look at other clubs rather than us now, we just do not promote guys from the youth teams and havent for 2 or 3 years, guys like Lawless,Halsman + McKinnon etc have impressed in the u-19`s,got a1st team contract and loan move to a div2/3 club, impressed there, in the case of Lawless + Halsman at least had 1 or 2 first team games and impressed there as well and STILL are getting splinters in there arse sitting in the stand/bench when they are with us, just what do they need to do to get an opportunity?

 

Be good enough for a place in our team? Which our manager clearly feels they are not and given he sees them day in day out I'll trust his judgement.

 

At Motherwell if your're a young player and good enough you'll get your chance. Hell plenty of young players who were not good enough for the first team still got their chance.

 

Could someone please give me an example of player who 'never got their chance' at Motherwell and went on to have a successful career elsewhere?

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Living in Armadale i'm able to get along to Bathgate and watch the under 19,s on a regular basis and over the the past few years have seen a lot of good young players who I fully expected to make the step up to the first team, players like Forbes, Pollock, Lawless and McHugh ect,doesn't seem to happen as it did in the past though. We only seem to be able to bring players to a certain level and they seem to progress no further ,could take it one step further yet and suggest that the players that do make it into the first team seem to hit a brick wall as well,whats happened to Murphy ,Reynolds and even Hutchison to a certain extent.Could be these players just ain't good enough .Could be our coaching set up is limited or just crap.

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Hibs reportedly had a cracking under 19s team which I think won the league a year or two ago. Only Booth and Wotherspoon have graduated to the 1st team from that squad. At the same time, the likes of lawless, mchugh, halsman and pollock were getting rave reviews by whoever writes the reports on the official website.

 

Has the progress of these players been curtailed by the absence of the reserve league? Given the standard of the SPL, proper talent like Faddy, Pearson, Murphy and Hammell will always make the breakthrough at 17/18 but is it the case that run of the mill potential isn't getting the opportunity to mature?

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Has the progress of these players been curtailed by the absence of the reserve league? Given the standard of the SPL, proper talent like Faddy, Pearson, Murphy and Hammell will always make the breakthrough at 17/18 but is it the case that run of the mill potential isn't getting the opportunity to mature?

 

Think that is absolutely bang on the money. When would Page, Forbes or McHugh last have played a competitive game? That to me was evident yesterday that these guys were rusty however I don't think anyone could really argue that they are better than the first team players we have - so how do we sort it? I don't know. Someone like Gannon helped our youth guys get game time but he through them into games they were out their depth. McCall is maybe overly cautious. But if he could see them playing competitive reserve games he may be more willing. Its a concern though because we need these guys to be playing competitive stuff but its hard to farm them out on loan because we probably will need them for ourselves.

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I think a lot rides on how the transition from U19 to !st Team is managed and how good the first team manager is at throwing them in and supporting these players with careful allocation of game time.

 

i think we've lost something of that of late.

 

Throwing 5 or 6 in at the one time and looking for a miraculous performance aint gonna happen that's a long term turn round.

 

Bleeding these guys one at a time gradually into an established and successful first team does.

 

I think it's a weakness at the moment

 

EDIT: Just read Tweeds post - kinda sums up what I was trying to say in a far more sensible and readable fashion

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You can't really justify changing the team when you're doing well. Individual opinions on individual players aside, our current senior players have put us in a position where we haven't been lower than third and were in 2nd for a decent portion of that time. Does McCall change that? of course not.

 

I don't think it's a coincidence that our crops of youngsters come to full prominence when we aren't doing as well so we've nothing to lose by playing them. A club like us can't have it both ways...we either have a strong first 11-15 that brings us relative success, or we chuck kids in and accept that there's a good chance we'll be nowhere, but one or two of them might develop into something special.

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You could argue that the expectation level amongst supporters and type of the season the team are having are also factors in when young players can be included.

 

One of the positives of Jim Gannon's reign was the number of younger players who got opportunities but bear in mind at that time the expectation level of the support wasn't great given so many of the squad from the previous campaign had moved on and that it was a pretty non-descript season.

 

There were other factors such as the date of his appointment, we had European ties just days away and the majority of players left on the books were youngsters then that sort of forced his hand to a degree to start with.

 

To be fair to Gannon he continued with the policy but by the time Craig Brown took over he had a different set of targets to work towards, firstly steadying the ship and then by the end of the season we were trying to secure a European place.

 

At the start of the next season he had a European campaign and we were as high as third just a couple of weeks before he jumped sheep. McCall again had that ship steadying job to do once again and by the close of the season had a Scottish Cup Final to prepare for.

 

This season we've again been sitting in the top three for much of the campaign.

 

I've always been keen to see our own talent promoted and I agree we've lost it a bit with the transition from youth player to first team player but I can understand to a certain extent that if we're chasing Europe or something like that why a manager might stick with the tried and trusted rather than through in the youngsters.

 

I guess it comes down to finding the balance between short-term and long-term plans.

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I've watched the 19s a load of times this season and the team definitely has some talented players in every position, but its difficult to tell if they are going to be able to make the step-up because the jump from 19's to the 1st team is an almighty one.

 

I remember seeing Faddy playing for the youths and just knew he was going to be a star, one way or another, but he was a one-off, once in a generation type really. The boys in the current 19's all look 'neat and tidy', comfy on the ball, positionally aware but none of them has that outstanding talent in my opinion.

 

I expect a few (Hetherington, Angol, Hermann, Watt, Moore and Devlin) to be retained and progressed to 'reserve' level.

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Learnt a surprising fact yesterday at the game. What do Celtic's James Forrest and Darren McGeoch have in common with Brian Easton, James Macarthur and James McCarthy? Yes, they're all former Accies players. Rangers have just snaffled 4 of their youngsters as well.

 

 

where did you hear that?

 

james forrest is from prestwick and has been with celtic since he was 12. dylan mcgeouch was with celtic as well then went to rangers for three years because celtic released his brother then went back to celtic.

 

youth development is a bit of a lottery. faddy was with hearts and they let him go, james mccarthy was knocked back by celtic. if tommy burns hadn't of snuffed it paul slane and liam gormley could have been big players for us.

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The main problem for the boys who get signed after coming through the under19`s is there is no longer a reserve league, where these boys would be getting regular football against boys in the same situation and also senior players who are coming back from injury or not getting into their teams. Experience !!!

And also how can McCall change a team that is currently sitting 3rd in the league. In Lawless`s case he has Daley & Humphrey in front of him starting, unless 1 gets injured or leaves, then he will struggle to get into the team. the same goes for McHugh, with Murphy and Higdon starting before him, and that also goes for Carswell. The team has been lucky with injuries so far (defence excluded) and the gaffer will not change a winning team, just for the sake of it.So depending on transfer activity the boys will struggle to get games in my opinion.

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where did you hear that?

 

james forrest is from prestwick and has been with celtic since he was 12. dylan mcgeouch was with celtic as well then went to rangers for three years because celtic released his brother then went back to celtic.

 

youth development is a bit of a lottery. faddy was with hearts and they let him go, james mccarthy was knocked back by celtic. if tommy burns hadn't of snuffed it paul slane and liam gormley could have been big players for us.

 

And neil lennon was with with motherwell !! Lucky escape. Eh

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The main problem for the boys who get signed after coming through the under19`s is there is no longer a reserve league, where these boys would be getting regular football against boys in the same situation and also senior players who are coming back from injury or not getting into their teams. Experience !!!

 

 

what's the difference between a bounce game and a reserve game?

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Not many senior players have been playing in any of the bounce games, all mostly 19 and 20 year olds. The old reserve league featured lots more experienced pros and only a handful of youth, this gave them more experience. When Lawless, McHugh, Slane ect, were 16 and McGee was in charge they played regular reserve games against senior pro`s, that has been taken away from them now. Lawless has been out in the 3rd div for a year and 3 months in the 2nd div and has gained a lot of game experience against senior pro`s. The youth sitting in the dug out or in the stand hardly play against men, only rangers & celtic and to an extent hearts (not for long) have reserve teams with senior pro`s. The rest of the teams have to rely on youth for bounce games.

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Not many senior players have been playing in any of the bounce games, all mostly 19 and 20 year olds. The old reserve league featured lots more experienced pros and only a handful of youth, this gave them more experience. When Lawless, McHugh, Slane ect, were 16 and McGee was in charge they played regular reserve games against senior pro`s, that has been taken away from them now. Lawless has been out in the 3rd div for a year and 3 months in the 2nd div and has gained a lot of game experience against senior pro`s. The youth sitting in the dug out or in the stand hardly play against men, only rangers & celtic and to an extent hearts (not for long) have reserve teams with senior pro`s. The rest of the teams have to rely on youth for bounce games.

 

is that not due to the reduced squad sizes around the league more than anything else? there aren't many experienced players that aren't playing regular first team football.

 

what experienced players are twiddling their thumbs rather than playing a bounce game?

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Agree wholeheartedly that the demise of the reserve league has been a major factor in the perceived lack of progression from the youth ranks. I know one of the younger u/19s went on loan to a junior team at the end of last season and playing against older and more experienced (street wise, cuter more cynical :rolleyes:) players has benefitted him. Surprisingly not one of the players mentioned earlier.

As a result the young players have a steep learning curve when they get into the 1st team squad and maybe it's a step too far for some and a loan spell at a lower league side is the best way to learn about the game properly.

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is that not due to the reduced squad sizes around the league more than anything else? there aren't many experienced players that aren't playing regular first team football.

 

what experienced players are twiddling their thumbs rather than playing a bounce game?

 

Of course it is, that is what i was saying in the last 4 or 5 lines, only the old firm can field a team of 90% senior pro`s or pro`s with lots of experience.

 

Who said there was senior pro`s sitting twiddling their fingers, i said the bounce games are mostly 19 & 20 yrs old. There are some older pros who play in the bounce games.

 

 

 

 

 

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There is clearly an increase in the number of younger players we loan out now. Something we maybe couldn't do when we had to sustain a reserve team?

 

So it might not be as straightforward as all that.

 

As it is McHugh I think is currently unfortunate in that we don't really play with a second out and out striker as I seen enough to suggest he might have some potential there. Can't see him leading the line or playing out wide though. So until we change I don't see much hope for his prospects barring injury or sales that dictate we need to change.

 

Other young players like Hutchison and Saunders have progressed to first team. Others that I heard decent reports on Lawless and Pollock I seem to notice are fecking midgets. Not to say it going to stop them one day making it but in physical league like others you do tend to need to be a bit special to make it when you dwarfed by most players.

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'Others that I heard decent reports on Lawless and Pollock I seem to notice are fecking midgets. Not to say it going to stop them one day making it but in physical league like others you do tend to need to be a bit special to make it when you dwarfed by most players.'

 

These two players are a perfect example of the differing views of managers and coaches etc. Both are excellent technically and skillfull and fairly quick, but as stated lacking physical presence (tin hat already on but I'm merely stating the obvious I believe size is irrelevant strength however is important) and possibly not strong enough. They have had limited 1st team action but as far as I can see don't fit into S M or K B's thinking.

 

Conversely S Carswell had a fairly ordinary season at the start of 2010/ 2011 but the manager saw something about him he liked and he has progressed into being almost a fixture in the 1st team squad.

 

It appears to me that the Head of Youth likes quick, tricky ball players with an ability to take players on and as such obviously recommends such players to the management team. Whether this is the type of player wanted by S M is another question.

 

At the end of the day it all comes down to opinion and watching the youngsters in training and in matches. The fans have got to trust the judgement of the coaching staff at the club at all levels to come up with the goods.

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'Others that I heard decent reports on Lawless and Pollock I seem to notice are fecking midgets. Not to say it going to stop them one day making it but in physical league like others you do tend to need to be a bit special to make it when you dwarfed by most players.'

 

These two players are a perfect example of the differing views of managers and coaches etc. Both are excellent technically and skillfull and fairly quick, but as stated lacking physical presence (tin hat already on but I'm merely stating the obvious I believe size is irrelevant strength however is important) and possibly not strong enough. They have had limited 1st team action but as far as I can see don't fit into S M or K B's thinking.

 

Conversely S Carswell had a fairly ordinary season at the start of 2010/ 2011 but the manager saw something about him he liked and he has progressed into being almost a fixture in the 1st team squad.

 

It appears to me that the Head of Youth likes quick, tricky ball players with an ability to take players on and as such obviously recommends such players to the management team. Whether this is the type of player wanted by S M is another question.

 

At the end of the day it all comes down to opinion and watching the youngsters in training and in matches. The fans have got to trust the judgement of the coaching staff at the club at all levels to come up with the goods.

 

Thing is flung up a level are Lawless and Pollock all that quick or tricky? True they not had a great deal of chance to show it, but if they were a bit special you'd think it would be hard to miss. If they were showing even Faddyesque skill in training/bounce matches you have to think they'd at least be getting more sub run outs. Same if they had Humphreyesque pace then got to think if they had any other assests they'd be getting a look in.

 

Likely reason is they are probably pretty ordinary. Hope to be proven wrong of course but someone pointed out about how many of our young players that move on end up leaving us with egg on our face for letting them go isn't that many.

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People also have to remember, Youth System doesn't mean finding an unknown boy at 14 years old that has never been signed up with another (semi)pro club at youth level and bringing through their ranks. The likes of Hutchinson, Page, Saunders, Hammell although signed late in their Youth Careers are still products of our Youth System. If we were to take only those guys that were signed at 12, and never set foot on another teams training facility then most of the teams known as the best at bringing Youth through would actually be rather crap (e.g. Arsenal, Manchester United, Barcelona etc.)

 

Right now, if everyone was fit you could possible say we have have have 4 defenders, 4 midfielders and 3 strikers in our match day squad that have been "Youth" players (signed before they were 19 years old). The only one position I believe we really suck at is bringing through Goalkeepers. Apart from Martin who left before seeing first team football who was the last we brought through, that went and even did something remotely special.

 

Aye it would be great if we could start again, and bring through a team in the same mold of Athletic Club, where we only bring youths in from the surrounding areas (say the Ancient Kingodom of Strathclyde) but it would still mean signing players from other clubs.

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As posted on U/19's Turkey Trip Post the youngsters defeated a 3rd Div Turkish league side (1st team) by a goal to nil yesterday. Given the game was against league leaders, and not their youth side, shows some signs of encouragement. This was the first match the boys have played for some weeks and whilst obviously a friendly against a lower league team, whose standard is unknown to me, it at least shows the team can hold their own against older players.

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