Rafa The Gaffa has joined forces with arch-nemesis Jose Mourinho in asking for the “Big Clubs” to field a reserve/B side in the lower leagues, so their young players can get experience and be better than everyone else’s,
“It is clear that the reserve system doesn’t work,” he said. “The reserve league is nothing.
“You can see youngsters playing just 18 games a season. That is nothing – certainly not enough for the development of these players.
“It is something that we can improve in this country, or if we do not change, we will find other solutions: sending youngsters out on loan, like I have done recently.
“I do not want to see reserve teams with four or five senior men playing without passion. These games are for young players.”
“Between 18 and 21 years old in this country, the players do not know what to do. If they are good enough at 18, they are with the first team but on the bench all the time.”
“[In Spain] I had players who were 18-19 years old playing in the Spanish second division championship.
“You cannot play in a reserve league with players who are 34 years old and coming back from injury. They don’t work hard.
“I would like to see reserve teams of the big clubs like ourselves playing in the Football League. Why not if they have enough quality?
“The key is that the young players may have quality, but not the experience for the first team. They are only on the bench. That will bridge the gap between the youngsters and the first team.
“If you do not give young players the chance to play competitive football and to learn things, things become impossible.”
While we do agree with Rafa that the development of truly talented youngsters needs some help, there are a few problems with simply allowing a plan like this to go through. Like how the rest of the Premiership would feel about only Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal being allowed to field ‘B’ teams in the lower leagues? Or how you decide whether the likes of Tottenham, Newcastle and Everton count as “Big Clubs“? Or whether the reserve league would still exist? Or how the Championship teams would feel being made to play against kids trying to get match experience? Or how 34 year olds coming back from injury get match fitness?
Ok, got a little carried away there. But the Premiership is already turning into a 3 tiered league – adding another heaping dose of long term inequality doesn’t seem like a great idea just yet.