David Wagner admits it’s a problem for Huddersfield Town to produce their own Premier League players.
It’s reported Town are considering closing or downgrading the Academy at PPG Canalside because not enough players have come through recently to first-team level.
Town have been without an Academy manager since Steve Weaver left just before the start of the season, and Wagner says decisions on the future are for the club and chairman Dean Hoyle to make.
“I have not spoken and I am not involved in this process – this is totally the chairman and the club’s decision,” said Wagner.
“I have read about this as well, but this is not where I am involved.”
Asked if it’s a problem for Town to bring players through, Wagner answered: “I think of course it’s a problem for a club of our size which is now in the Premier League to produce Premier League players.
“It is a problem for a lot of clubs to produce Premier League players – a problem for a lot of Academies.
“It’s a problem for us as well, for sure, but what the solution is to solve this problem, this is something for the club and the chairman to decide.”
Premier League clubs are expected to contribute to youth development in this country, obviously with the national team ultimately in mind, but many clubs have looked at what Brentford did in 2016, when they abandoned their Academy and now operate with a B team to provide experience for players in the 17 years to 21 age bracket.
Brentford’s B team have played top European and English sides and operate 10-day training camps with three matches per trips, at a cost of £30,000 each.
Town have been investing more than £500,000 a year in the Academy for many years and have had playing success at both Under 18 and Under 21 level.
In addition to Billing, Jordan Williams made his debut in the Carabao Cup against Rotherham but has now been loaned out for the season to Bury.
So is it easier to buy or loan players of the standard required to compete at top level?
“This is what we have done in the past,” said Wagner.
“We went to other clubs and other Academies to find additions for our squad – and I think this only shows how difficult it is for our Academy to produce Premier League players.
“Even though we have one – Phil Billing – who is an Academy product, this shows it is possible but very, very difficult.”
Do we, therefore, have a problem educating, training and coaching young players in England?
“From my point of view, I worked a long time, full time, in Germany in Academies with top young players, to be fair,” said the head coach, whose side visit West Ham in the Premier League on Monday night.
“What I have seen here in England so far is that there is unbelievable talent and potential in players 19, 20 and 21.
“We have it here with Kasey Palmer and we had it with Izzy Brown, and before that with Ben Chilwell. Unbelievable quality which I have rarely found in Germany at this age.
“Unfortunately this is not in our Academy but other clubs, but I don’t think England has a problem.”