England’s youth teams have improved drastically over the last decade or so.
While English youngsters were perceived as not being as technically gifted on the ball compared to their Spanish, French and German counterparts, the young crop of talen who have emerged recently have proven that they are as good on the ball as any players in the world.
Thet have enjoyed tremendous success in different age groups recently, even winning the U-21 World Cup. There is no doubt that Gareth Southgate has certainly benefited from the fruits borne due to England’s strong youth set up.
One man who has more than done his part to promote young English players, and worked with them to improve their game is Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.
The Argentine who first garnered a reputation of trusting young players during his time at Southampton has overseen the emergence of the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Harry Winks and Eric Dier during tenure in North London.
Ahead of the game against Southampton, the 46-year-old has opened up about the responsibility he feels to help English football by developing young players.
Speaking to Football.London, Pochettino said, “It’s a massive thing. The identity of your country and football is through your young players. It was fantastic to see yesterday Manchester United in the last 10, 15 minutes, players from the academy come on for their debuts.
“One made their debut the week before in the Premier League. It is amazing. That is the identity of English football. I am working in England. I have double nationality, Spanish and Argentino, but my responsibility as a manager here is to provide the best thing to the country for English football to build players and provide talent to the country or national team.
“That responsibility always was one of my priorities when we arrived here to pay back all that and the opportunity English football gave to me with our action and work to build that identity that is in our head and mind.
“When Spain was so successful it was because a lot of managers believed in young players and started to give them the ability to play and that is a very good thing.”
Pochettino also said that it was much easier for young players to break through into the first team now than it was when he first arrived in the country.
He added, “I think before we arrived it was difficult. When we arrived, you can ask players like Ward-Prowse, Luke Shaw, Lallana, Harry Kane and different young players.
“The mentality started to change in the last five, six, seven years yes and people started to trust more in young players, 17, 18 or 19. That’s not in Spain and Argentina, not only in England.
“It’s coaches or coaching staff who are brave enough to give the responsibility to young players if they deserve it, not because it’s fashionable or to send a message. If they deserve to be in the first team, they need time after to show their quality.”
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