Academy boys need cash backing – Dublin
JONATHAN REDHEAD Norwich City striker Dion Dublin says more money needs to be raised for academies across the country to help bring the best young British players to the fore.
Norwich City striker Dion Dublin says more money needs to be raised for academies across the country to help bring the best young British players to the fore.
The 37-year-old who was himself a Norwich City trainee in the 1980s, says current set-ups like the one at Colney are "fantastic" but finance is needed to bring through more youngsters.
Dublin was speaking as he gave his backing to last Friday's showpiece friendly between Norwich City's under 16s and their Celtic counterparts, which brought 4,000 people to Carrow Road to witness the young Canaries win 3-1.
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The money raised from the game will go to the academy's Tactic Zone appeal, which is aiming to raise £250,000 for new facilities for City's youngsters at Colney.
So far more than £100,000 has been raised and Dublin backed the work done with City's academy but says cash is the key.
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"I think it's fantastic," he said. "It's changed so much. When I was at Norwich in 1986 or 1987 there was no academy then. It had a youth set-up but that was it.
"But right now I think raising money for academies is absolutely needed so we can bring through British players that don't really get a shout.
"We have a lot of foreign players who are very talented playing in England, but we need more funds for the academies and more chances to bring the players through."
Former Liverpool defender Alan Hansen echoed Dublin's thoughts on the need for more young British players to be brought through club ranks.
In his Daily Telegraph column, he wrote: "England have talented players but you have to wonder about the strength in depth available to Steve McClaren in a Premiership that is awash with foreign players and where very few young footballers are given first-team opportunities by the major clubs. Carragher had a fine evening but he would be the first to admit that he is not comfortable on the ball at left-back. Phil Neville is a versatile footballer but not a genuine replacement for his brother at right-back. Owen Hargreaves may become a top holding midfielder but you could hardly call him a great passer of the ball. Aaron Lennon proved he has pace but he has yet to show he can use it to threaten defences at international level."