Former Huddersfield Town player Dean Gorre has spoken of his disappointment at seeing the club recently downgrade their Academy.
The club announced the decision to move from their current Category II set-up to Category IV of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) in September, sparking criticism from some quarters.
It meant youth development from Under 16 and below would be phased out with Town concentrating on the higher end of the programme and scouting those from the age of 16 upwards.
And Gorre, who spent two years as a player at the club, questioned the move before going on to cite how his native Netherlands makes youth development work.
“It’s disappointing to see any Academy close and you have to question what the aims of it were in the first place,” said Dean Gorre.
“If it was set up to just make money or bring players through – if it is the latter then they need to be given opportunities.
“You only have look at the Dutch youth system as an example of how it works – nearly every club develops their own players and sells them on successfully.
“Obviously the national side are not performing too well at the moment, but they have still brought good players through such as Memphis Depay.
“They’re just not on a world-class level such as those like Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie – that is the difference.”
As someone who has spent time as assistant first-team coach at both Southampton and Stoke City, shadowed Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and coached at Ajax’s famed youth Academy, the 47-year-old is well-placed to comment.
Yet Gorre was quick to point out the issues with player development are not just confined to Huddersfield Town, but symptomatic of the English game as a whole.
“Players seem to be getting to a certain level, such as Under 23, and then not getting the opportunities to progress further,” Gorre added.
“If there are problems getting first-team opportunities then clubs need to use the loan system more – send them out to get that experience.
“At the moment too many seem reluctant to send players out on loan to play first-team football.”
The former Huddersfield Town midfielder went on to cite the example of Manchester City’s Academy as a new way of developing young talent.
Although no players have broken through at the Etihad, the club have a number of partner clubs across the globe where top prospects are loaned, something Gorre feels others could benefit from doing.
“The best thing a club could do is to pair up with a lower league club who have the same footballing philosophy,” Gorre added.
“At the minute Manchester City have an agreement with NAC Breda in Holland – and they have a lot of players in their squad on-loan.
“They got promoted last season with City players, young players and it seems to make sense and is definitely a way forward.
“The level in Holland is obviously not the same as in England, but to make the step into the Premier League from there is easier than straight from the Academy.”