Youth shows the way
I haven’t been paying much attention to the World Cup but I have noticed online predictions from various England supporters stating Jude Bellingham will win them the tournament in the winter, then join Liverpool for a club record fee of 150 million plus in the summer.
Which begs the question, why didn’t Liverpool simply buy him from Birmingham as a seventeen year old and play him, just as Borussia Dortmund did? They could have reared their own star and earned a fortune upon his transfer, rather than forking out more than most Scottish clubs are worth on one single player.
A special talent usually emerges early by way of being too good to hold back, and the city of Liverpool itself has witnessed this in the past, both Rooney and Owen burst onto the scene in their teenage years, Ronaldo and Giggs doing the same in nearby Manchester.
Messi and Raul lit up Spanish football while still technically boys, as did Maradona and the great Pele in South America.
There’s a huge lesson there, and Im honestly wondering if it’s past professional football by.
Playing meaningful games from a young age clearly helps develop the players talent. Bellingham is simply the latest example, soon to become a very expensive example of this simple fact.
The names mentioned are or were special talents indeed, but surely the lesson holds true for any and all talent? Using that talent from an early age helps one hone it, and gain mastery over it.
Dortmund find themselves in that sweet spot of not having to win every game or the league itself given Bayern’s dominance, so they can afford to blood and nurture youth players, presumably to the pleasure of their supporters if not their accountants. Selling Haaland and the young Englishman in one calendar year shall take in a fortune, I think it’s fair to say that club won’t be changing strategy anytime soon.
Why others aren’t copying that strategy is beyond me.
Our club of choice has no need to change at the moment, our far flung cheap diamond strategy is currently very successful.
But perhaps we have also found that sweet spot?
With a strong squad to ensure a strong ten around him, and the nearest challenger financially curtailed, maybe the team could blood a youngun?
Could Rocco Vata for instance become the next Aiden McGeady, Shaun Maloney or James Forrest?
The cherry on the icing of the cake would be bringing a youth player all the way through into first team regular perhaps star.
That’s my wish, Santa.