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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 who have been in their job longer do not tend to give more opportunities to under-23s. In some leagues, managers have actually given fewer opportunities to young players over time.


This suggests that a club’s ability to give youth a chance is independent of the strength of position of their manager. In other words, blaming lack of job security for a lack of young players is an excuse.

Smart clubs make youth development and opportunity a proactive, strategic choice. While they may hire managers who have a record of working with young players, their primary focus is to ensure that there is a long-term succession plan in place regardless of who is coaching the team. Southampton and Feyenoord are good examples of this; even as managers have been replaced or poached, the practice of giving youth a chance has been unchanged.

In youth development, security doesn’t equal opportunity; strategy does.

About Omar Chaudhuri

Omar Chaudhuri has created 146 entries.