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Jules

Hughton on BBC's Sportsweek

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Did anyone else catch Hughton on BBC''s Sportsweek yesterday morning? They were discussing the poor performance of the England U21 team at the current tournament in Israel and in particular whether the Premier League was having a detrimental affect on our young players'' development. It was revealed that NCFC had the highest number of home grown players in their squad and they had Hughton on to discuss this. He was congratulated on this fact and was asked whether this was a deliberate policy. Hughton basically said that it was the policy of the former manager, i.e. Lambert, and that it had worked well for the club as Lambert brought us up from Div 1. To be honest, when asked whether he himself would continue this policy I thought Hughton sounded a little evasive. He naturally spoke about how achieving Academy 1 status is important to the club and of how he wanted to bring talent forward but he didn''t know how many of the current FA Youth Cup winning team would/could make it into the first team. It seemed to me that Hughton thinks you can get better better players and value abroad and that while the previous policy of buying British was the correct one for where the club was at then in order to take the club on from here we need to be looking more abroad. Perhaps I heard him wrong but I think it''s a revealing interview that hints at an increasing change of direction in buying policy at the club - as much for what Hughton didn''t say as much as he did say. Anyone else care to try reading between the lines? Podcast of the interview and discussion here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/sportsweek

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While it would be great to have a mainly British squad, the reality is that a mix of nationalities means you are simply able to pick from a much larger pool of players.    The nationality shouldn''t really be an issue.   Lambert was one thing and he did great for us, but Hughton is than much more savvy than people sometimes credit him fo.  Bassong, Garrido, Tettey, RVW - all his signings and showing that the change of direction in buying mainly British players has already happened. 

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Allow me to be objective for a moment - What does it matter where the players on our pitch come from? As long as they play the game and get us the points, yeah?

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Once they don the yellow and green they are all of one family so I couldn''t care less where they originate...unlike my Father who believes that all Norwich players should not only be English but come from Norfolk!

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I don''t think Hughton (or Lambert) make their signings on an ideological principle - but bring in players that fit their purposes at the time and are known to them. The increasing number of overseas players in the Norwich squad is as much due to a larger scouting network as anything else. When Lambert moved to Villa he brought in Benteke and El Hamadi fairly quickly.

 

The lack of British players in the Premier League is a reflection of the poor quality of youth coaching as well as the amount of money clubs have. People talk about how overpriced English players are, but it is more how overpriced nearly every transfer involving two domestic teams is over the past few years.

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I don''t think the reduction in English players in the Premier League makes the England team poor. The best quote I''ve read on the issue was from Football 365''s Media Watch on Friday.http://www.football365.com/mediawatch/8762783/The-Page-That-Wants-a-Hubby-On-Speed-Dial"Apparently, ''Of the 537 players who appeared in the Premier League last

season, only 197 were English. That''s 37 per cent, which is more than 30

per cent down on the numbers from those in the Premier League''s first

season 20 years ago.''

So presumably England were brilliant 20 years ago when English players

dominated the newly formed Premier League? Yes? Yes? Well, no.
"

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Also, the proportion of Italians in Serie A is just 0.1 per cent higher than the Premier League, yet look at the difference in terms of both the success and quality of their national teams (youth and senior).

It won''t solve anything, but what I would like to see is more Brits go overseas to play early in their careers - rather than at the end of them.

For instance, Micheal Mancienne is now at Hamburg and has improved immeasurably thanks to the different footballing style/culture of the Bundesliga. Probably should be given a crack at England, but won''t. Now he looks set to play for Seychelles.

Anyone remember Owen Hargreaves when he first arrived on the international scene? Was England''s best player in one tournament (I forget which one, to be honest). Would have continued had his body not been crap.

On Hughton, I''d say he favours a balanced approach to things. He will buy British, but only if price and quality/potential is right. Rumours linking us with Luke Wilkinson should not be disregarded - he''s good and has the attributes to make the step up to the PL. He might require a season or so to adjust fully, but that''s neither here nor there.

As for the team that won the Youth Cup. What can he say? As an extremely experienced Youth coach he knows that you simply can''t predict what will happen with teenagers. These kids are 17/18 and show potential. But a million things can happen that see them never be as good as they might be. As it stands, I''m sure several of them may well turn out for the senior team, but assume nothing.

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The better value is to be had abroad at the moment in particular the leagues having financial difficulties. International players cost the same as good championship players. In 2 years time if we are still in the EPL I suspect our ratio of British players will have reduced

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Last season CH brought in 6 British players and 4 foreign players, so there was a balance. I think the Academy Status is a more important indication of contribution to the British cause.

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I wouldn''t say that England were really brilliant 20 years ago. But following the World Cup in Italy in 1990 in which we finished 4th, expectations were a damn sight higher than they are now. If only we hadn''t screwed Bobby Robson about over a new contract, who knows how England''s future would have turned out .He would have known how to handle Paul Gascoigne and how to get the best out of the "Golden generation" whose careers are only now finishing. How the hell could the FA have preferred Graham Taylor to Bobby Robson ?. It should also be remembered that the Premier League came in on the back of Englands success at Italia 90 and the popularity that it generated. It wasn''t that long before when it would not have been the commercial success that it became due to Hillsbororough, Heysell and Bradford plus the hatred for Football that so many politicians felt.

I feel that football fans need to ask themselves whether they want a succesful National team at all, while we still have some degree of native participation in the game.

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At a club like ours, which is still lower on resources than most other teams in the premiership, teamwork and togetherness is always going to be the main factor in whether we do well or not.    To keep that teamwork and spirit going, having players who understand each other well is important.  A smattering of foreign players - as long as they have a good attitude - mixed in with a good proportion of  British players, is the best way to go.   Too many foreigners would upset the balance, too few and we might not have the quality we need to do well.  

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Looking back 20 years, up front England had players like Shearer, Lineker, Gascoigne.  Currently we have no-one as good, only Rooney would come close but only on a good day. 

 

Which is the difference between a team capable of a top-4 finish then - now we should make the last 16, but don''t expect us to get beyond the quarter-finals. 

 

And if you compare the number of English players in the PL with home grown players in Spain, Germany etc, there has got to be a connection.


But from the City perspective, you''re not going to over-pay for English players for the good of the national team are you ?  It made sense in the Lambert era to look at younger players with potential in the lower leagues, but now for value we clearly need to look abroad like everyone else.

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I think that explains why Hughton was quite careful about what he said in the Sportsweek interview. He might even have felt a tad embarrassed as NCFC were being praised by Gary Richardson for having so many British and Irish players in the squad when he knows that he''s looking more abroad to take NCFC forward. I''m sure he''ll aim to keep a British spine but like other mid-table Premier clubs looking to push on I''m also sure that our percentage of foreign players will increase and that of our British born players will decrease.

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Snodgrass was a better value signing than Tettey. It would be a shame to change a winning format and risk upsetting the spirit in the dressing room which has been a key part of our success. While I think it''s great we''ve signed a player like RVW, reading some of the things he has said to the media it''s obvious he needs to be inducted into our way of doing things - no superstars, no one bigger than the club.

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Stronger the league, better the players will develope.

=

Take foreign players out of premier league and english players will be even worse.

Shearer, Lineker etc were good at their own time. Back then football was straightforward and very physical. If those guys would play now they wouldn''t be any better than Rooney, Wilshire etc. Probably worse in modern football.

It is all about identity of national leagues. Dutch league isnt developing good attackers for national team because it has majority of dutch players, but because they play very open game there. Then compare that to championship where majority of teams play edgy and physical football instead of trying to make more charasteristic and by that develope areas that are more important in modern football than raw power.

Finland has very similar problem with national team even thought our Veikkausliiga is almost full of finnish players.

That added to youth coaching we and you have where allrounders are more highly rated and profilic players on one or two areas just cut the developement of star players.

(For example many best youth teams use the guys who are 10cm taller earlier than others and the small guy with better talent wont get enough playtime)

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[quote user="Lavanche"]Stronger the league, better the players will develope.

=

Take foreign players out of premier league and english players will be even worse.

Shearer, Lineker etc were good at their own time. Back then football was straightforward and very physical. If those guys would play now they wouldn''t be any better than Rooney, Wilshire etc. Probably worse in modern football.

It is all about identity of national leagues. Dutch league isnt developing good attackers for national team because it has majority of dutch players, but because they play very open game there. Then compare that to championship where majority of teams play edgy and physical football instead of trying to make more charasteristic and by that develope areas that are more important in modern football than raw power.

Finland has very similar problem with national team even thought our Veikkausliiga is almost full of finnish players.

That added to youth coaching we and you have where allrounders are more highly rated and profilic players on one or two areas just cut the developement of star players.

(For example many best youth teams use the guys who are 10cm taller earlier than others and the small guy with better talent wont get enough playtime)[/quote]

Good points, Lavanche.    English players still on the whole look less mobile than their foreign counterparts.   It still looks to me as if some of our English players still hang on to the physical approach to playing football too much. Too much weight training and not enough mobility  training.   Too much emphasis on the physical side at the expense of agility.   It shows in competitive  international games - England often look less mobile than the opposition. 

The Dutch play an open game, but they historically don''t have the financial pressure that has taken over the premiership.  Our football has suffered at the top level because the ridiculous financial pressure there is to succeed.   Half the teams in the division last season were so scared of losing out on next season''s windfall payments that the quality of football suffered. 

It sounds as if skill has been stifled in Finland as well as here over the years.   Its hard to change a whole culture and  ever since I can remember, people have been saying things have to change in this country, but we''re still not producing enough of the kind of players we would all like to see.   I hope some of the younger players starting to come through now are finally going to change that, but I''ll believe it when it happens, not before. 

The character of the British game doesn''t look as if will change in a hurry.  Maybe the new money coming in will bring in some more exciting foreign talent into the game and make for a more exciting premier league.  That in turn should put more pressure on the British players to up their game - they need to, otherwise they won''t be able to get a game and we will eventually end up with 99% foreign players in the premiership and all the British players back in the championship - or lower. 

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