Monday, April 4, 2016

Release the Youngsters

Hi all, today I was on a forum site when someone posed the question “can anyone think of players who were written off as youngsters but turned out to be decent?” Now the obvious ones got thrown out like Harry Kane, Gareth Bale and of course Jamie Vardy, which got me thinking of how young players are treated in the modern game?

For those of you that don’t know Jamie Vardy was released from my club Sheffield Wednesday at the age of 16, being deemed too small...which I think is such a bullshit reason to release a player. It’s kind of understandable that The Owls have been pottering about in the lower leagues when these are the types of decisions that get made…

Back in the day if you were below 6ft you were most likely going to get swallowed up by the likes of Jack Charlton and Norman Hunter but those days are well and truly behind us. The game has now evolved to help smaller players cope with the physicality of the sport. Has it made it better? No, but it now allows all types of players to get the same look in, not having to take into account a 16 years olds height.

It’s not like it's a new thing as well. This has been the case since roughly Diego Maradona came onto the scene. He showed that you don’t need to has a perfect physique to play football, he showed that with such a low centre of gravity it actually makes it easier to dance past players.

Now I can’t speak about one great Argentine without speaking about the other, Lionel Messi. This lad as it just so happens also was going to be dropped for being too small...Messi...One of the best footballers ever was almost released for being too small.

Again this is just another example that hopefully will spare a youngster in the future but let's be honest it won’t stop players being dropped for stupid reason. Every season you hear about players being dropped because his step brothers got dandruff or something stupid and they try and pass it off as if it was an unavoidable thing. If Kanu could play with a hole in his heart then some kid can definitely play at 5ft6…

One of the centre backs at my local pub team was dropped by Huddersfield’s academy about 15 years ago for being (to use his words) “a foot too short and a yard too slow.” It was unlucky for him but he understood why he got dropped. For me though his technical and mental abilities show he could’ve done well in professional football. Maybe not Premier League but I could definitely have seen him at a Championship team with the right training.

Another guy I used to play with used to be in Colchester’s academy. He said he left of his own accord because he didn’t think he was good enough. I didn’t really believe that reason because no kid would give up on his dream to be a footballer like that. If the club agreed you weren’t good enough then fair enough…

But anyways back to the original question. It seems that most of the players that were being discussed managed to turn their careers around after positive spells whether that be on loan or as a permanent signing. The big one that springs to my mind for this is Harry Kane.

Apparently Tim Sherwood was told he HAD to loan out Kane when he was manager of Tottenham but refused because he saw a world class striker in him. I call bullshit on that statement but I must say fair play to Sherwood for playing after the poor spells Harry had had.

After finding some reasonably good goal scoring form with Leyton Orient and Millwall, Kane was loaned to Premier League outfit Norwich. Sadly after a bad injury he only managed to play five games in all competitions, failing to score at all. He then went to Leicester where he didn’t really find that same form from his last stint in the Championship.

I’m guessing a lot of those fans who watched him would agree he wasn’t anything special, definitely not the main goalscorer of a Tottenham side now pushing for the league title. This for me though is a prime example that a player seems to fit for certain clubs.

Take Rickie Lambert as an example of this. He was dropped by Liverpool for some reason or another and was jumping from club to club before finding his feet at Bristol Rovers. A move to Southampton came about and the rest is history. For me as soon as a player finds that ‘right club’ he can turn from an average player to a great player in just one season.
~ Side note: I understand Lambert had some good season’s prior to Bristol but it was during his 3 years with them that he actually turned some heads ~

The last player I wanted to talk about was a guy I myself had written off at a young age. Kasper Schmeichel. The Danish international started out at Man City and was loaned out here, there and everywhere before joining Notts County. I thought that was the end for him.

But to build his way up from the depth’s of English football the way he has is astonishing. People who say he’s living off his dad’s fame need to take a look in the mirror, you don’t go from League Two football to the Champions League because you’re Dad used to be good. He is an outstanding keeper in his own right and has played an important part in Leicester title challenge.

But anyways that’s my take on whatever it is I was wanting to talk about. The players I’ve stated above should be held in high regard, used as examples to any youngsters to show that whatever your situation is you can still become a class footballer. And your career isn’t dead because you’ve been released or dying because you’ve had to step down a few divisions.

~ Anyone who enjoyed this please follow me on Twitter @ThePenaltyKing1 or like me on Facebook at ~

Cheers for reading.

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