Football Features

Which ‘Big Six’ Premier League club is best at developing youth players?

By Squawka News

Published: 11:48, 11 April 2019

Experience is invaluable in football, but there is also a lot to be said for the raw, fearless nature of youth.

However, with Premier League clubs increasingly judged on short-term success, it is perhaps understandable that sticking with what you know and turning to a seasoned old pro rather than a fresh-faced kid is seen as the safer option.

Some managers, such as Jose Mourinho, are fiercely criticised for their perceived reluctance to give youngsters an opportunity.

But others, including Mauricio Pochettino, have their praises regularly sung for bucking the trend and throwing teenagers in at the deep end.

Similarly, teams who manage to nurture youth products and bring them through the ranks to elite level earn major brownie points among fans. But those that don’t and struggle to bridge the pathway from academy to the first-team are condemned.

All that begs the question: which ‘big-six’ Premier League club is the best at developing youth talent? We asked a fan of each team to find out…

Manchester City fan

@SuperbiaProeIia: “It’s City; if you watch their youth teams, you’ll notice they play the same style of football the first team do.

“People mistake ‘youth development’ with just throwing youth team players in the first team whether they’re ready or not. Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz are now playing for two of the biggest teams in the world while Jadon Sancho is killing it at BVB.

“You’ll see a lot more players eased into the first team over the next few years and make it at Europe’s top clubs.”

Liverpool fan

@LFCTransferRoom: “In terms of opportunity, you’d have to say Spurs given Daniel Levy’s lack of spending ambition.

“But in terms of actual follow-through, Man United probably boast the most consistent track record at present with the likes of Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira all seeing regular first-team minutes.

“You can’t forget the likes of Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Axel Tuanzebe and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson either.”

Chelsea fan

@FutbolCheIsea: “For me, Liverpool are the best team for developing youth out of the top six.

“Trent Alexander-Arnold is now their starting right-back, Joe Gomez has progressed brilliantly – and is arguably their second-best defender – while we can’t forget Raheem Sterling, who thrived for Liverpool before deciding to move to Man City.”

Spurs fan

@atthepeake: “I think traditionally it’s been Manchester United who have had the best production line.

“But, given the investment they have enjoyed and looking at the potential of players like Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden, that reputation might be moving to the blue side of Manchester instead over the coming years.”

Arsenal fan

@robinrust86: “Man City produce great young players, but they often need to go elsewhere to secure first-team football and finish their development.

“Take Jadon Sancho, for example. If he had come through at Spurs, he would be playing in their first-team right now. So I’d say Manchester City, but I wish they would give more of them a chance.”

Man Utd fan

@jonwildemcr: “At the moment, there is no question Tottenham and Manchester United are giving the most first-team opportunities to young players they have developed in-house.

“I would have to give the edge to Spurs, mainly because United have blooded some of their kids due to injuries whereas Mauricio Pochettino has clearly felt the likes of Harry Winks, Oliver Skipp and Kyle Walker-Peters were truly ready to follow the path trodden so successfully by Harry Kane.”

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