Premier League launches new youth development structure
The Premier League recently announced the launch of the three-category Professional Development Programme for U16, U18 and U21 players, an initiative designed to bridge the gap between academies and first teams.
Having kicked-off last weekend, the programme’s marquee competition is the category one Professional Development League which will feature the 22 clubs (17 Premier League, 5 Championship) that applied for top level status. With fixtures being mirrored at all age group levels, the league will provide a core programme of 24-28 fixtures in a group format which will be followed by a secondary group phase and a final knock-out tournament to determine the champion.
With the emphasis in the competition very much on preparation for the senior side, there are regulations in place designed to maximise the opportunities for emerging talent. With each team at U21 level limited to just three over-age players and one over-age goalkeeper to favour younger players, the sides must also host at least two games at the main stadium of the first team in order to expose members of the academy to the elite environment.
Placing a greatly increased emphasis on youth development, the new initiative and its associated regulations are likely to instigate significant changes in the way in which young players are brought through the ranks at club level. In combination with initiatives such as the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP), the aim is for English clubs to start producing and promoting high quality home-grown talents on a much more regular basis in the years ahead.
Speaking about the introduction of the Professional Development Programme, Ged Roddy, Premier League Youth Director, said, “Much has been done across the game to modernise the youth system over the last three years. Clubs have consistently highlighted the need to create serious competitive games as part of the overall professional game in this country.
"The Barclays U21 Premier League aims to provide that vital transitional step and will become the hardest playground in the world as part of a players total education, because the next game may well be a debut in the Barclays Premier League itself.”
Providing 16 academies in England with analysis, software and consultancy services, Prozone has an understanding of youth football that is unsurpassed in the performance analysis marketplace. Regularly analysing games at academy level, we collate data from youth matches in our database and have seen how it is used by clubs looking to more comprehensively educate and develop their academy prospects.
Equipped with the technology required to closely monitor development using detailed technical and physical information, coaches can use data to provide the important objective feedback and instruction that is required by players at such an important and formative stage of their careers.
Using consistent analysis language in order to more effectively assess and benchmark talent across a global U17 and U21 database
, Prozone products and services can be an important element of the developmental journey for young players when used as part of a supportive coaching environment. Analysing performance at an unparalleled level of detail, Prozone products enable the more accurate prediction of player potential
and can be a major factor in assessing player lifecycles and assisting with the crucial transition from academy to first team.
To find out more about what Prozone can do for your club, visit the Services section of our website.