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Michael Tucker

West Bromwich Albion 3 Chelsea 0

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Should you be living with Droy's opinion? At least until such time that any kid of ours does play well enough to play for Chelsea? Because it certainly hasn't happened yet.

Can't claim to watch much youth football these days, but when I do I'm always struck that Chelsea look the far better team, but the oppo usually have the most impressive few individuals.

We'll see a few kids against West Brom because we've sod all to play for, not because of their abilities, whatever they may be.

No, live with the fact that his default position is "the kids will never make it". Some say they will - the trajectory is clear for most to see.

As for the second paragraph - clearly rubbish. Chelsea have the stars of the show for most U-England sides and it's clear we have a handful of the best teenagers in English football.

The third is just bizarre. They will play because they are good enough. If they weren't, they'd never get a minute of game time.

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No, live with the fact that his default position is "the kids will never make it". Some say they will - the trajectory is clear for most to see.

As for the second paragraph - clearly rubbish. Chelsea have the stars of the show for most U-England sides and it's clear we have a handful of the best teenagers in English football.

The third is just bizarre. They will play because they are good enough. If they weren't, they'd never get a minute of game time.

The emboldened bit; sadly characteristic rude and abrasive. I don't know why you choose to communicate like this when you could simply say you disagree.

Wary of contributing further to the derailment, and particularly to the accusations that seem to follow when you don't lay the boot into certain posters, but I've certainly never seen DWMH say 'the kids will never make it', but rather that actually seeing them make it is the only evidence that compels him to believe they will.

We certainly do have many players in the youth England teams, and I've no doubt we have some of the best kids in England. Not sure where I denied this. What I said is that I've often watched games and thought the most impressive individuals were not in blue. Many of those players I was impressed by are also representing their countries at that level.

And finally, I'm not sure where we're disagreeing on the third point. Of course players will play when they're good enough. And one of our kids has been good enough to play 60 ultimately inconsequential minutes. Maybe a few will be good enough to play some even less meaningful minutes this weekend. As of yet, none of them have been deemed 'good enough' to play any football that really matters. Nothing even vaguely 'bizarre' about thinking kids playing in dead rubbers says more about how the manager sees those games than it does how he sees the players.

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Not withstanding the rest, the kids who play in whatever games we have left will do so because they're deemed to be good enough to ay those games.

Maybe not good enough to play a season finale away at the Etihad, but certainly good enough to be spending those few precious minutes on them.

I've never said these will be world-beaters - but to see others say they can't make it with no other evidence than past history of other individuals is a bit lame. By all means, say you think they are not good enough. But say it with some conviction.

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Khobar   

Well from the last French 11 starters

A lot depends on what you mean by playing 6-12 games. If 3 sub appearances in the LC and 3 more in the CL group games counts, sure you are right.

But if you think anyone is going to start more than 6 PL games other than Zouma forget it. Chalobah and RLC are a million miles from where Mikel was when he started. Chalobah/Kalas/Omeruo as CBs are miles behind Zouma (and 2 months younger, 17 months older and 12 months older respectively).

Of the players that have stayed at the club, this year, only Solanke, Abrahams and Zouma can say they have really done well. 2 of those are too young to be playing regular first team football next season, the other cost a small fortune.

Of the players that went on loan only Bamford can say he has performed well (and I guess, in a way Salah). But I don't see Bamford playing a regular role next season. Kalas is 22 this week - he has found his level.

Too much is made of our massive youth squads that win trophies. Too much is made of how they all look good. I want to hear about how poor most of them are, and how one or two really stand out.

I'd say it's more telling to look at where the likes of RLC and Chalobah are NOW in comparison to Mikel rather than where they were when he was at their age. For whatever reason, Mikel never really developed but he still got plenty of game time. Currently, I would see no great disadvantage to playing someone like these over Mikel although obviously the preferred partnership in that area would be Fabregas / Matic.

By 6 to 12 games, I include league cup, champions league dead rubbers and a few 35-45 minutes of games already won. I don't class those games as meaningless as each provides big game experience in its own way. That can't be replicated elsewhere and still be considered as part of the internal progression process. JT's time at Forest gave him game experience but playing with top players in front of our crowd gave him the extra edge. To be training with Mourinho and the first team is a massive educational plus for these players and for them to even be considered part of that setup can only push them forward. The rest, of course, is up to them - they have to have the commitment and the ability to make the most of the opportunities.

The other side of it is that it is always easier to get that chance at a club that is not expected to challenge. That's where players like Kane, Grealish, whoever get their breaks. Will any of them become winners to the extent of JT? Who knows.

Frankly, I find it slightly odd that you constantly beat the drum for somebody like Sterling when all he would be if he were with us is another of these wastes of time and effort and with a suspect attitude to go with it. Why are such players so good at other teams but not worthy of our time and attention?

Of course, we don't know the long term plans for the club and how the balancing act for the manager who has to produce in the short term can somehow dovetail into a self sustaining approach which serves the club in the medium to long term. If Abramovic and Mourinho can agree a long term approach then there could be fairly swift successes as regards individual players but may in the short term damage the winning ethos we now have. And even with a Manager/chairman approach such as this, how will the bulk of the supporters react to a levelling off in the silverware stakes? We all live for the moment after all, we may not be here to enjoy tomorrow.

My own view is that within all of the conjecture above, there is absolutely no reason why 2 or even 3 players can't get 6-12 games each next season whilst not excessively weakening the ability of the team to win. If one of those then gets 15-20 games the following season then it's a success. You may say it's only one player, but if such a player becomes the next John Terry - blue through and through, then the impact can't be underestimated or palmed off as some vanity project.

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Khobar   

And I disagree that RLCs minutes were meaningless. In the greater context of the club season then yes, of course. In the possible impact on the individual player, absolutely not. And that he performed his task by playing the 'easy' ball and keeping possession suggests he did exactly what Mourinho asked of him, which will also give the manager confidence that this is a guy who will do what the team requires rather than try to make some sort of instant 'impact'.

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Frankly, I find it slightly odd that you constantly beat the drum for somebody like Sterling when all he would be if he were with us is another of these wastes of time and effort and with a suspect attitude to go with it. Why are such players so good at other teams but not worthy of our time and attention?

Hit the nail head on there Khobar.

Bertrand is another - always said he had it in him and he's proven so many wrong this season. The players we produce are slowly but surely proving to be PL players. My guess is that quite a few of the current batch will make it to the PL but I accept it may not be with us.

Still think there are a few who will.

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I'd say it's more telling to look at where the likes of RLC and Chalobah are NOW in comparison to Mikel rather than where they were when he was at their age. For whatever reason, Mikel never really developed but he still got plenty of game time. Currently, I would see no great disadvantage to playing someone like these over Mikel although obviously the preferred partnership in that area would be Fabregas / Matic.

I understand the comparison with Mikel now - but I'm not going there. There are many on this site who just refuse to acknowledge Mikel, Ramires, Malouda in the past, and are wildly irrational about them. So comparisons become just pointless.

Chalobah is 2 months younger than Zouma. I can't see him catching up, at least not next season.

By 6 to 12 games, I include league cup, champions league dead rubbers and a few 35-45 minutes of games already won. I don't class those games as meaningless as each provides big game experience in its own way. That can't be replicated elsewhere and still be considered as part of the internal progression process. JT's time at Forest gave him game experience but playing with top players in front of our crowd gave him the extra edge. To be training with Mourinho and the first team is a massive educational plus for these players and for them to even be considered part of that setup can only push them forward. The rest, of course, is up to them - they have to have the commitment and the ability to make the most of the opportunities.

I agree that training with the first team should make a hell of a difference - not least it raises expectations. The kind that will raise a few players high enough above the u21s to make them a challenge to the first team.

What I don't see though, are players threatening for first team places. The argument seems to be that there are so many, one must break through. The counter is that none of them stand out as individuals yet.

The other side of it is that it is always easier to get that chance at a club that is not expected to challenge. That's where players like Kane, Grealish, whoever get their breaks. Will any of them become winners to the extent of JT? Who knows.

Precisely. Which is precisely why I don't expect our young players to break through next season. Yes they might at another club, but this is Chelsea. I reckon Zouma would have started 15 to 20 PL games as 7th choice defender at most other PL clubs. 30 at Man U. Chelsea is different.

Frankly, I find it slightly odd that you constantly beat the drum for somebody like Sterling when all he would be if he were with us is another of these wastes of time and effort and with a suspect attitude to go with it. Why are such players so good at other teams but not worthy of our time and attention?

Have I? Everytime we play Liverpool I end up claiming he has played well - and then get into arguments with people who refuse to see what he does.

I think the Sterling thing is more about those who refuse to see how good he is (and possibly because I would only watch him in Chelsea games where he has been really good).

Of course, we don't know the long term plans for the club and how the balancing act for the manager who has to produce in the short term can somehow dovetail into a self sustaining approach which serves the club in the medium to long term. If Abramovic and Mourinho can agree a long term approach then there could be fairly swift successes as regards individual players but may in the short term damage the winning ethos we now have. And even with a Manager/chairman approach such as this, how will the bulk of the supporters react to a levelling off in the silverware stakes? We all live for the moment after all, we may not be here to enjoy tomorrow.

There is no long term approach to the final step of getting kids into the first team. It is up to the kid to make it. That is all.

My own view is that within all of the conjecture above, there is absolutely no reason why 2 or even 3 players can't get 6-12 games each next season whilst not excessively weakening the ability of the team to win. If one of those then gets 15-20 games the following season then it's a success. You may say it's only one player, but if such a player becomes the next John Terry - blue through and through, then the impact can't be underestimated or palmed off as some vanity project.

If.

Buying Hazard was a much cheaper success.

I know people here are allergic to pencil and paper calculations, but you really should do one of your own on the costs of the Project.

And remember the costs of the nearly men - the ones who have contracts through till they are 23 and played 6-12 games for the club one year but not 15-20 the year after.

And I disagree that RLCs minutes were meaningless. In the greater context of the club season then yes, of course. In the possible impact on the individual player, absolutely not. And that he performed his task by playing the 'easy' ball and keeping possession suggests he did exactly what Mourinho asked of him, which will also give the manager confidence that this is a guy who will do what the team requires rather than try to make some sort of instant 'impact'.

Yes - I don't recall using the word meaningless recently, but when I do I mean meaningless to the season for the club, not meaningless for a young player fitting in.

But if we are to assess the progress of a young player then certainly Kalas's one league game against Liverpool shows a level of confidence in him by JM equivalent to 6 or 7 30min sub appearances in the LC or CL group games,

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^ I said they were 'meaningless', and said it in a discussion about kids playing when they are good enough to. I'm sure making a first pro start (and getting a guard of honour!) for a club you've been with since you were in single figures was huge to the player, and perhaps Mourinho liked what he saw. But the game and the result made no difference to the club, and so the standard of player and performance necessary for it wasn't as high as it is, was and will be the vast majority of the time. I don't see the use in being squeamish about the word 'meaningless' here.

Just to clarify, I certainly hope we have at least a few kids who can make a difference for us, and I believe (despite being erroneously positioned elsewhere) that we have some very talented players in the youth ranks. To get back to the subject, it would be nice to see some of them play against West Brom.

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Khobar   

In all honesty DWMH, your responses above are far easier to appreciate and debate and, as you say, the bottom line is 'IF'. Even when we were shite it was difficult for players to come through the youth system. Take a look through the programmes from the 1978 or 1979 season (for example) and see how many recognisable names there are in the S.E Counties league or Football Combination Squads (not including recuperating or out of favour first teamers). In fact, next time I can hoist myself into the attic I may just do that.

So, I don't think many are going to get particularly heated about what you say 2 posts up, but many more will when you simply appear to dismiss the youth side and any virtues it may have. Regardless of your own view of its effectiveness, it seems that the club itself are keen for it to continue and prosper and to my mind there has to be a reason for that which is far beyond simple vanity of the owner.

I won't do the paper and pencil calculations as suggested though, simply because I'm not the slightest bit interested in that. The club employ people with all the facts and figures to hand, all of the business plans and have all of the knowledge of what is trying to be achieved. Me sitting with pencil and paper seems to be an utterly futile task for all concerned, especially if it ends up with me coming to a spurious conclusion based upon scraps of evidence tainted with my own personal preference for the outcome. I'd simply end up calculating that Liverpool are a waste of space.

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