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Youth Development

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  • 19 Oct 2017

    What’s the worst that can happen?

    Risk is one of the many excuses for failing to grant opportunities to young players in the first team. With ever increasing stakes, coaches often prefer the perceived reliability of experience at the expense of blocking the talent pathway. With average tenure hovering a little over 12 months, coaches are naturally inclined to focus on […]

  • 28 Sep 2017

    The security-opportunity fallacy

    It’s often suggested that a consequence of lack of managerial job security is a lack of opportunities for young players. After all, if a head coach is fearful of losing his job, why would he take on a perceived risk?

    However, the evidence suggests that this isn’t the case. In the big 5 European leagues, managers […]

  • 31 Aug 2017

    The rule of thumb

    Following the 2008 financial crash, Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane looked into what factors caused the crisis. He discovered that breaching the regulations set out in Basel II – a complex 347-page document that attempted to ensure banks remained safe – proved a less effective predictor of failure than a crude rule of […]

  • 06 Apr 2017

    The impact manager

    We know from our research that, in the long run, managerial changes on average make little difference to the performance of a team. That isn’t to say, however, that smart hires can’t turn a struggling team around.

    When we look through our database of managers who did improve performance in their first 20 matches in charge, […]

  • 23 Mar 2017

    The opportunistic debut

    As we approach the final stretch of the European season, an increasing number of teams have fewer major placings for which to compete. With that comes an opportunity for young players to make their league debut, and hopefully with it a positive impression for the following season.

    It’s not unfair to suggest that these opportunities can […]

  • 15 Dec 2016

    Where should we loan him?

    Loaning out a young player comes with risk. There is no guarantee it will continue his development any better than staying at ‘home’, not to mention the uncertainties around putting him at the mercy of often unknown coaches, players and physios.

    However, without some risk there is often no reward, so the question turns to finding […]

  • 05 Nov 2015

    The 20th player

    In 1984, Liverpool famously used just 15 outfield players in a 66-match season. 12 of those individuals played in over half of those matches, with just 3 fringe players coming in for cover.Football has unmistakably changed; large squads are now the norm and rotation is an accepted part of the game. However, teams still rely on a ‘core’ group of 10 outfield players competing in over 50% of possible league playing time, while the 15th most-appearing player on average plays about 25% of possible minutes. 
  • 18 Mar 2015

    The succession planning blind spot

    Last year, Stanford University released a report detailing the attitudes of corporate executives and directors towards succession planning and talent development.One of the more striking findings highlighted a blind spot that persists at board room level: 50% of the study’s interviewees believed their board had an effective succession plan in place for senior positions, but only 25% felt that their business had an adequate pool of successors for key C-suite roles.
  • 19 Feb 2015

    Why knowledge is the antidote to fear in youth development

    The Guardian’s Sean Ingle wrote a piece recently questioning whether England was on the verge of producing another ‘Golden Generation’ of footballers with the recent run of form of players like Spurs’ Harry Kane and Liverpool’s Jordan Ibe. Using data provided by Infostrada’s Simon Gleave, Ingle noted a remarkable drop in the number of players starting in Premier League first teams who are under the age of 24: