Date: 6th January 2011 at 12:53pm
Written by:

I have been quite ‘concerned’ by the level of negativity by Steve Cotterill towards the youth at this club, and more to the point the way they have been brushed aside as ‘not being good enough’ from the off…

Ok, to be fair, there is a good chance that a number – maybe all – will not make it but to completely write them off, especially given our situation, has been quite baffling at times.

Then again is the price of what we have previously been paying these kids, and what we have to continue to pay the senior ones, meaning that these have to be sacrificed in order to ‘attempt’ to make ends meet, proved our undoing here?

I would say that my biggest concern, good enough or not, with the youth situation is that these kids are being brushed aside with little, or no, thought being given with the ‘longer-term’ in mind…

By this I mean the season end.

When this arrives I would ‘think’ that any senior player, on good money, that is out of contract will be shown the door. Any other senior, or player of any note, that is still on money that is beyond a sustainable amount would also be looked to move on and that is not forgetting the loanees that will return to their parent club.

This is all part of ‘stabilising’ and ‘rebuilding’ the club, so these tough decision need to be made and accepted as such.

But then the biggest concern is that we will be left with a squad, the ones contracted to Portsmouth Football Club, of around a dozen players as a result, if that!

It would be foolhardy to think that we will have an ‘easy’ task of attracting players here, free agent or otherwise because we will not be offering money that others could…

So, even though some of these kids ‘might’ not be good enough ‘perhaps’ we should have been thinking that ‘maybe’ that is what we had to make do with, like it or not, good enough or not?

Again, as I and others have said, some of these kids have been on money WELL above what they should be, and if that is the case – and they genuinely are not good enough – then I guess the right call was made but I think writing them all off now is a foolish move because youngsters can, and many do, improve given time and time is what we have to give them.

Look at Joel Ward for example, he was written off by Cotterill, but fortunately – even if it was by default – he has proven him wrong, as I still feel Matty Ritchie would have, although I think the move to Swindon is also as much about what is best for him as anything and this move will give him the regular football he wants.

Writing off Marlon Pack, again maybe he might not make this level, is another strange one as, if nothing else, being used as a squad player is something that he could surely have been to have added something next season without being on too much money to boot?

Every squad needs those players that are good, but perhaps not quite good enough to command a starting place week-in-week out, but will do a job when called upon – who is to say that he would not have been one of them…

Nadir Ciftci is another we have to be careful with. Granted I can sometimes see where Cotterill is coming from with him but if he is handled and nurtured the right way we can get something out of him, as I feel we can Tom Kilbey.

A constant amount of saying ‘they are not ready’ and ‘I do not know if they will’ is not going to help, some level of diplomacy needs to start being shown by Cotterill methinks.

All this said it pleases me that Cotterill wants to have a revamp of the youth set-up here, as I seriously feared we would ‘scrap it’ altogether. And this is not something we can afford to do as attempting to produce, and develop, our own players is paramount to our future, and us being able to even have one!

I also like the thought that he wants to get ‘coaches out on the grass’ with these kids to help develop, and hone, their ability more and does not just want people overseeing them from behind a desk with ‘pen and paper’.

I dare say there are roles within this set-up that are not needed, so some can be dispensed of, I would also say that there are roles not being filled that need filling so we sort them too.

It also makes ‘some sense’ that Cotterill pays attention to this level, although I am not keen on him having too much of a hands on approach as I am not convinced that he handles the younger players in the right way – when all is said and done his job is as manager of the 1st team so he should do that, and focus mainly on that area.

Yep, keep an eye on youth level, a close eye – be it through one of your 1st team coaches, but let the coaches – and get them coaching – at such a level do what they are meant to be doing and most of all taking on the advise passed onto him about players’ ability is something that he must do.

Starting to utilise players that we bring through ourselves, bringing them through in the right way, is something that – as said – is essential to PFC’s future, so lets do this right, starting with this revamp being right…


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