Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

As Dyke Delivers His Report, Wenger Unveils His Blueprint; Arsenal Boss Fears for Future of English Game as He Claims Youngsters Don't Spend Enough Time on the Training Pitch by James Olley

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

As Dyke Delivers His Report, Wenger Unveils His Blueprint; Arsenal Boss Fears for Future of English Game as He Claims Youngsters Don't Spend Enough Time on the Training Pitch by James Olley

Article excerpt

Byline: James Olley

ARSENE WENGER today warned of an "education deficit" in English football as Football Association chairman Greg Dyke prepared to announce the conclusions of his England Commission.

Dyke was expected to be at Wembley Stadium this afternoon to present his recommendations, which will include advocating a controversial "B team league", after conducting more than 300 interviews with stakeholders across the game.

Arsenal manager Wenger was one of those asked for his thoughts and he expressed them again at a press conference held this morning prior to Arsenal's final Premier League game, at Norwich on Sunday.

"I am always ready to learn so that means I will read the report I am very keen to see how you can improve the game," he said.

"For me, to make it as simple as possible at the moment the development of young players in England, you have to balance the training and the competition.

"The competition has too much importance and the training too little. The time the kids spend on the pitch from the age of eight to 17 in training is too short. The time they spend in competition is too big, so to add more competition does not make sense.

"The sense is made by reducing the competition time and increasing the time in training. I have seen too many kids come to the age of 17 or 18 and they cannot head the ball, they have no left foot because they have not practised enough. After, what they try to do is to improve the level of competition after the age of 18, when the education is finished.

"That makes sense because at the moment you have a problem for the people who come out of the academies who don't get the level of competition they need. That is why some clubs have feeder clubs."

Specifically on the issue of a "B-team league", which would either take the form of a new division below League Two or perhaps the introduction of a regional structure similar to that used in Germany, Wenger said: "We have already a B-team league because it is an Under-21 league that is a little bit a B-team league. …

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