A Pioneering Change at Grass Roots

The football column advocates at grass roots level the banning of competitive matches for the 8 year olds and upwards, till the age of 14.

The emphasis should then be on five a side football for the age group mentioned, where one touch football skill is encouraged. It follows that every youngster is involved, improving their skills, and making their development more enjoyable. The wanting to participate on a regular basis would create the hunger and drive for all youngsters alike.

Separate coaching sessions would be required for ball control and heading techniques. For aspiring goalkeepers a specialist coach would be required.

Learning all the skills of each discipline is a necessity at an early age with this format between the ages of 8 to 14 years, any aspiring young player will have developed all the skills to play well, which in turn would improve their attitude and performance. Lack of the technical skills equates to no progress.

Football leagues for these youngsters should then be introduced from the age of 13 – 14 years, this in turn would then bring the competitive aspect of the game to them. The art of tackling, organisation, position of play and movement can be fine-tuned. Learning the game when not in possession of the ball is also a vital lesson, the youngsters must be given the correct coaching opportunities to progress, young players playing at an early age in league football will not develop all the technical skills.

The youngsters who are taken on by in particular the lower league clubs, have a good chance of progressing, but they must retain the hunger, desire, work ethic and attitude to succeed. Personally I would advise any young player to start with a lower league club, the Manero opinion is that most of any young English talent will be suffocated due to the foreign input at the bigger clubs. League one club Crewe Alex deserve a special mention, and in particular, the coach Dario Gradi, who has produced a wealth of talent.

Dario can clearly transfer the coaching ethos to the youngsters. Gradi has to be the most outstanding coach of our generation, the people at grass roots level know the importance of this outstanding coach. In fairness to the top flight, Southampton have been very successful with their development program, but we need more of the top clubs to tread the same path, there is nothing more satisfying in football than to see a youngster make the grade. I believe we can provide a wealth of talent. The Football Association need, in the Column’s opinion, to induct these changes, we need progress for the long term future of all that’s English and in particularly our National side, to see a second gold star on the 3 Lions shirts must be the aim, World Champions, we must believe!