Sunday 19th August 2012
According to reports, Manchester City want to tap up all the best that English talent has to offer…in the realms of football players of course. Whether they plan to play them regularly is anyone’s guess. I suppose they do plan to do so if they are eventually as good or better than David Silva and co, but will those players they purchase be ready after much time that will inevitably have been spent in the reserves, or in the proposed Under-18 and Under-21 leagues? I’m leaning heavily towards an answer of ‘no.’
These young players such as Jack Rodwell and (maybe) Scott Sinclair, would arguably be far better off staying at the clubs where they made their name. Everton, who are the most consistent team outside of the traditional top six, and Swansea City, one of the most exciting additions to the Premier League in years, are not to be sniffed at. They are great clubs who can provide a tremendous education for young players. Rodwell is 21 and has made 85 appearances for the Toffees while 23 year old Sinclair has only three full seasons under his belt, Both would surely have a better chance of succeeding elsewhere or at those aforementioned clubs than they would at City. It should be obvious to everyone that these two youngsters and potentially many others will merely be making up the numbers in Roberto Mancini’s list of players.
It would probably be more advantageous for them to go on loan from to lower division ones as David Beckham and Jermaine Defoe did in their teens. Manchester United’s Beckham had played a handful of first team games up to the point when he was loaned out to Preston North End in early 1995, but with the likes of Andrei Kanchelskis in his way, Alex Ferguson sent him to Lancashire where he would gain regular competitive first team football rather than languish in the reserves. The reserves are useful for young players, but it is often a place that is used for players recovering from injury to regain full fitness as opposed to the cut, thrust and pace of lower league football. Beckham was brought back once Kanchelskis sustained an injury in the last weeks leading up to the end of that season otherwise he may very well have stayed at Preston for longer. Defoe was at West Ham United, (a club that had and have a far lesser standing than what City do now, which would make one think that he could have been thrown straight into their side considering his talents) and was farmed out to AFC Bournemouth in the third tier where he scored 18 goals in 29 matches. His and Beckham’s spell of regular competitive football undeniably did them good. The proposed Under-18 and Under-21 leagues are sure to be taken seriously, but will they be as competitive as the lower divisions of senior English football that are made up of clubs fighting for their lives – quite literally in some cases? But taking into account that Rodwell and likely Sinclair have just left two very good clubs playing regular football in the top-flight it would seem utter madness for them to go to City and then go out on-loan to a lower division club or any club for that matter considering that Everton and Swansea are two perfectly good Premier League clubs! My point is that, for their career, it would probably be favourable for them to be at a lower club playing consistently rather than being in City’s second string side, where they will be, let alone two sides who finished in the top half last season. This is why I fear that these transfers could be the most pointless in Premier League history.
You can understand why players such as Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair would want to take on an opportunity to join the league champions, and that they believe in their own abilities to succeed, but the most important aspect of all is…do Mancini and City? How long will they be in the reserves before they get their chance or are sold on? They are not going to get into the first team regularly, so will they be loaned out to other clubs in order to gain that valuable first team experience that will be designed to prepare them for the first team and help them for the future? If this is the case then City are simply weakening the opposition rather than making themselves stronger. Rather than seeing these players thrive at other clubs and maybe inflict some damage onto the Blues on the football pitch, they would rather have them for themselves whether they’re playing or not. Is that the case? Some of us will have our opinions and I think that these decisions could come back to haunt Rodwell and Sinclair as they could very well find themselves at clubs of lower standings than Everton and Swansea.
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