Food for Thought - Promoting the Youth

Discussion in 'Fulham FC News and Notes' started by AggieMatt, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. AggieMatt

    AggieMatt Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    Alamo City, Texas
    Interesting article from Viva El Fulham.

    'The New Originals.' This is the tagline that Fulham had branded their successful under 18 side from last season and who would be the cathartic remedy to absolve Fulham of last season's pathetic relegation. 4 games in and things have not gone to plan.
    Felix Magath seemed to relish the task of having so many youngsters make up a chunk of his squad and he claimed that he has never seen a manager take 6 academy youngsters straight to the first team squad. In one sense you have to acknowledge that Felix has fulfilled his brief but at the same time both the club and Felix have been a little reckless.
    From reading interviews with Huw Jennings and football youth articles in general, the absolute golden rule is that you cannot force or artificially accelerate youth development. Coaches have to aid the youngster's talent to the best of their ability and help the player mature on the pitch. Youth coaches talk about pathway's into the first team. Pathways involve a combination of under 21 football and loan deals to get experience. At Fulham these recognised pathways have been ignored and the youth players just dumped straight into senior football. That is not fair on the players or the team.
    Fulham have one player who did follow the recognised pathway that leads to achieving first team football at their club and that is Dan Burn. Dan Burn did well at under 21 level and two subsequent loan deals to Yeovil and Birmingham were beneficial and productive. Admittedly Burn did not stand out when he played for Fulham in the Premier League last season but then there was no player who did. It is hard to perform in a team that was so hopelessly devoid of any structure. Burn however did prove himself in the championship at Birmingham and that should have been his ticket to first team football at Fulham this season.
    Instead 18 year old Cameron Burgess has been chosen ahead of Burn. Burgess has done well as any 18 year old can in a team that much like last season is without a coherent structure and cohesion. It is clear that Burgess has potential. By ignoring the pathway that Burn followed, Fulham and Magath are trying to force that potential out of Burgess instead of caressing the potential into ability. Burgess excelled at under 18 level. He was marking strikers that will most likely have dropped out of the game soon enough. On Saturday he was marking Jamie Ward. Ward has 281 senior appearances scoring 79 times. Ward is not a world beater but he has that experience, that nous of senior football. Dan Burn you would imagine would have been better equipped both mentally, tactically and physically to deal with Derby.
    Let me make it clear that I am in no way blaming Burgess for the defeat. He is obviously a player with good potential. Huw Jennings, whose remit it is to develop players for the club, must be livid that Burgess is playing first team football at this stage of his development and not following the aforementioned pathway. Dan Burn fits the criteria that the club have outlined to Felix, he is young (only 22) and from the academy. Play him.
    Some 18 year old footballers are capable of first team football and some are not. That is what development is, players go at their own pace. Hyndman, Dembele, Roberts and I think Lasse Vigen will too, are all ready to start a few games or at the very least be impact subs from the bench. Playing them all together instead of integrating them into an XI made up of senior players is a brazen move. If I were Felix I would play my seniors, get them winning, get them functioning as a unit and then gradually introduce the under 18's into the team. It is easier to perform as an individual when the team is performing. The Fulham youth experiment has not failed by any means, it just needs to be adjusted and to remain patient.
    BarryWhite and encorespanish like this.
  2. astroevan

    astroevan Well-Known Member

    Aug 5, 2013
    South Carolina
    This is exactly along the lines of what I've been trying to say for the past couple of weeks. My much less detailed comment was "too much too soon". We have a talented group of youngsters who have been excelling against other high school aged kids. To throw them out there all at once against established pros is unfair to them and their development.
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