Westley addresses academy in light of Greg Dyke’s vision

Graham Westley. Photo: Harry Hubbard

Graham Westley. Photo: Harry Hubbard - Credit: Archant

STEVENAGE manager Graham Westley has weighed into the discussion about English football, saying the gulf between our national side and the rest of the world is more than technical skill.

This week the Football Association chairman Greg Dyke gave a speech outlining his aims for the England national sides as well as the problems facing future teams due to the influx of foreign talent in the domestic leagues and how it can be rectified.

In Dyke’s speech he highlights the decreasing number of English players starting games in the Premier League and the Championship.

“English football has come together in recent years to try to address the issues of youth development and there is no doubt progress has been made…Where it seems we still have a serious problem is in the transition of young players – and particularly young English players – out of academies into first team football,” he said.

“Personally I think the situation is serious, very serious. But saying that is easy. Before we can actually do anything we need to understand why this is happening. Almost everyone I have spoken to in recent weeks recognises the problem but they have offered a whole range of different reasons for why it is happening and, as a result, have suggested a whole range of different possible solutions.”

Westley was frank in his opinion, saying the problems were rooted in how English clubs develop young players.

“I’m not a believer that the gap between us and the rest of the world is just technical. There are more issues in the way we think about developing our players than the technical aspect.

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“A lot of emphasis is put on the technical aspect but it is just one of a number of areas we need to improve. We need to realise that in order to bring the very best of ourselves.”

He added that Stevenage had just this week agreed changes to its academy in order to bring more players into the first team set up.

“We had a meeting today (Thursday) about the overall philosophy and strategy going forward. We made a number of changes going forward to improve what we’re doing and the ability to bring players through.

“Those changes will be significant and give us the best chance to bring players from academy and youth setup into first team structure.”

Dyke finished his speech by saying he would set up and chair an FA commission looking into the problem.

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