Stopping the disappearing acts of young English talent

As everyone obsesses over the Raheem Sterling saga, their attention should be turned to the other exciting English talent that has made his move to the Etihad: Patrick Roberts. Manchester City have acquired a midfielder that at the tender age of 18, has already scored 14 times at youth international level. He is “an extraordinary talent” according to former boss Felix Magath, and with the right education and development England fans as well as City fans will soon have a new hero to fascinate over.

For now though, he remains relatively unknown and the general reaction to the deal is that he is simply there to address the home-grown quota, filling up the numbers. Because of this, for many fans the deal carries with it a worry that City will ‘ruin’ Roberts, as they did with Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair. But if we are on the subject of accountability, who really is to blame for the decline of those players?

It is very simplistic to point the finger at the financial powerhouse such as Manchester City. After all, for their owners, football is ultimately a business and very rarely is a footballing project with so much financial backing patient and purely focussed on the long term. Results are needed, and needed quickly, meaning they will play their best XI and gear everything towards trophies. Easing promising but raw English talent into the team with some regular game time is not high on the agenda. In fact it probably doesn’t mean a thing for these owners, and why should it?

That being said, young players still make the move. Are they all simply blinded by the money? Only they know. But what they should also know is everything I mentioned above, so why are they not put off by that? Yes, Roberts will now surround himself with superior coaches, facilities and players. This is good for his development. But nothing beats regular game time, something they can have no guarantees over. I should think that every player who makes a big move has the self-belief that they will make it, and become a regular, otherwise there’s no point of getting up in the morning. But there needs to be realism added to the hopes and dreams.

This week, boxer Anthony Joshua was asked: ‘How good are you now, and how good are you going to be?’ to which he answered, ‘right now I am no good but I have the ability to be exceptional.’ This is a young man who’s smothered by media hype and high expectations but he himself has his feet firmly on the ground, and earlier in the interview stated the importance of ‘living simply’.

Player power dominates transfer windows, so why don’t players now pave their own paths towards fulfilling their potential? Joshua’s style out of the ring should be emulated by our young, talented football players. For the sake of England, the FA can place more regulations on home-grown players; literally forcing managers to play them, but why shouldn’t our players take responsibility and ensure that they choose being played over getting paid?

By James Abedian – @jamesabedian

4 thoughts on “Stopping the disappearing acts of young English talent

  1. Whoever you are i really think you should do your research before putting up misinformed blogs like this . So Manchester City ruined the careers of Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair did they .

    Well first of all you should take into account the fact that Jack Rodwell spent three quarters of his time at Manchester City in the treatment room , his injury record is appalling as it was at Everton , and hes not exactly ripping up trees at Sunderland either .

    As for Scott Sinclair , well again if you had bothered to do your research and look into his career you would have noticed the amount of clubs he has already been at , and for a 26 year old to have been moved on from so many clubs there is clearly an issue there .

    Now lets get on to Patrick Roberts , so City will ruin Roberts will they . Unfortunately people like yourself who are just looking to have a further dig at Manchester City for no real reason other than petty jealousy , are completely ignorant to the fact that the number of players that are about to make the breakthrough from Manchester City’s EDS system into the first team squad is impressive . Youth systems take time to develop and Patrick Roberts will be coached under the stewardship of Patrick Vieira for one year . The reason for this is integration into an overall playing system which Manchester City have developed from the under tens upwards .

    I suppose when Joe Hart , James Milner , Joleon Lescott , Gareth Barry look back on their playing careers and the medals they won , they’ll feel Manchester City ruined their careers to , don’t give up your day job .

    • Hey Paul, glad you’ve left some feedback.
      Not sure if you actually read the article though. Can you just re-read this chunk of it:

      “for many fans the deal carries with it a worry that City will ‘ruin’ Roberts, as they did with Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair. But if we are on the subject of accountability, who really is to blame for the decline of those players?”

      Firstly, ruin is in quotation marks to highlight it is just a classic opinion given by football fans, NOT ME, on the subject of Rodwell and Sinclair and then secondly, I insinuate how City are not to blame, before i later explain that.

      The whole article is trying to shift the blame away from big clubs like City or Chelsea, etc. and put the emphasis on the player. I agree with much of what you said in your comment hence why I did not write an article blaming City for Rodwell and Sinclair’s problems.

      Cheers Paul.

  2. People really need to get to grips with this ‘home grown quota’ stuff. Why would city need to sign a player they have no intention of using? The home grown quota would be filled by their under 21’s so why pay for a squad player and not use them when the already have players in the under 21’s?? Some people are so stupid it’s unreal. There is no rule that means City have to but home grown!!ffs Chelsea had 3 home grown last year how that?

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