Premier League - Villas-Boas wants 'B' teams in Championship
Fri, 20 Jan 11:00:00 2012
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has said that the top clubs in England should be allowed to have reserve teams in the Championship to help bring through young talent.
Many of Europe's top leagues allow clubs to field 'B' clubs in the lower leagues without letting them earn promotion to the top division.
Barcelona's B team for example, finished third in the Segunda Division (the Spanish equivalent of the Championship) last season but could not take their part in the league's play-offs as they are a reserve team.
Indeed, Barcelona's coach Pep Guardiola first made a name for himself as a manager by taking charge of the Barcelona B team.
Villas-Boas said a similar system in England would help give big clubs the chance to field their young English players in a competitive environment and thus ultimately help the national team too.
"The youth development system in England is not right, in my belief," he said.
"There is plenty of effort and talks to get it right but, in my opinion, it is not. The reserve-team league is not competitive and doesn't serve the progression of talent coming through. The gap between the reserve team and the first team is immense here.
"Barcelona B play in the equivalent of the Championship and if that European model was applied in England, it could be tested. Feeder clubs might be a solution but there would be more of a cultural identity if it's called a B team. (If the reserves competed as Chelsea B) it would be the same name, the same environment.
"If it's a feeder club, I couldn't call a player up to my first team until the transfer window opens. What happens in Barcelona B is a good model in terms of competitions. They promote talent. That's the main difference I see. Maybe the English model is working, though not in our case. I always felt like that.
"If your B team plays in the Championship, and are fourth or sixth and threatening, playing good football, you'd call players up if you had suffered injuries. There is immediate identification of the process you're trying implement in your first team and B team and it would be an ease to call them up.
"And it could be a great benefit because you don't have to work with a 26-man squad but a 19-man squad and just recall the best young guys with constant activity. If Ryan (Bertrand) and Josh (McEachran) could make the jump from Championship to Premiership every week, their involvement would be much better."
If such a system was to be implemented it would require a huge overhaul of the current league system.
Currently only two new clubs enter the Football League each year via promotion from the Conference into League Two.