Saturday, September 28, 2013

Look north

In amongst his gushing about Dreamboat ahead of last weekend's disappointment at home to Hull, the Silver Fox made a statement that doesn't seem to have attracted as much attention or comment as it really should: "We have good players and it’s something we’re focusing on in terms of the lack of English players in our group. We have structured our academy and our scouting team to scout only locally at youth levels now and that’s going to be carried through for the next two or three years because we need to produce our own. We have Sammy and Dummett but we need to produce more."

Now, few of us would dispute that our record of bringing through local lads into the first team is poor - we've said as much on this site several times before. What's more, we also have a history of failing to recognise young talent growing up on our doorstep - most famously Wor Al, but Michael Carrick too. Seeing two academy products - the two players singled out by a prescient Silver Fox - combine to create Papiss Cisse's goal on Wednesday night underlined the value of development.

And yet it's extraordinary that in the modern day we've apparently adopted a deliberate policy of only looking for players in the immediate vicinity. Surely we need to be casting our net far and wide in order to be able to compete with the Premier League's big hitters, and can't afford to be myopic. If the automatic assumption is that we'd lose out in bun fights for the top players, aren't we being unnecessarily defeatist?

That said, when you've got JFK spearheading your recruitment procedures, then such defeatism is entirely understandable...

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