Thursday, 22 May 2014

Improving Development players is slow but worthwhile

While Premiership teams ponder over Greg Dykes Team B Division 3 league proposals, teams like AFCB in the Championship are said to be not effected by such ideas at this stage and yet even Bournemouth have a group of Development Squad players that need games and experience. How these players are best served is a question for Stephen Purches and Joe Roach and Eddie Howe, but the fact that players are keen to come to Bournemouth in their teenage years means that the club is attracting young players that it needs to develop and integrate into the first team.
Ryan Fraser stands out well ahead of other
young players at AFCB at the moment.
While there are some league, cup and friendly games for the Development squad there is little opportunity to give youth their chance in the Championship. What I do like is the opportunities they have to play in and around the first team especially when first team players are recovering from injuries and need to come back steadily by playing in some Development Squad games. It must be great as a non-first team player to get the opportunity to be an equal on the pitch with some players that have already made it and to learn from them. Ryan Fraser has shown that if you have the ability you will be played at Championship level, but getting a train of players through the system is what the Cherries need if they are to keep their costs down on player transfers and develop players that are ultimately good enough for the first team.

It is clear that the club wants to take as many players forward as it can and if Development players are to be given new contracts that gives some indication that the club is pleased with their progress and there is a chance that some of them will make the grade either at AFCB or at another club if they are sold for the right price. The potential sale of Adam Lallana with a 25 per cent sell on clause coming to AFCB shows one of the merits of having an academy even when we see players finish their development elsewhere. 

The loan system currently seems the best way though for many of these players, like those pushing for first team action such as Jayden Stockley and Sam Matthews, for example, to get some regular competitive football. But even then it is important that AFCB put such players with clubs that play in the way that improves development. I must admit I would have liked to have seen more players come through in the last five years at AFCB, but I am sure we will eventually get more players like Danny Ings and Josh McQuiod on the conveyor belt.

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