Admist all the fretting about England’s abject display last night, you might have missed an announcement Fulham put out about their Development Squad:
FFC can confirm that the Club’s Development Squad will not compete in the Barclays Premier Reserve League for the 2010/11 campaign.
Next season FFC will deliver a programme for the Club’s 18-21 year-old players, including competitive football, loans to other clubs and occassional tournaments. All Development Squad friendly fixtures will be played behind closed doors next season.
Whilst the Development Squad has performed admirably in the Barclays Premier Reserve League in recent years, the Club feels that a tailored Club campaign, arranged around First Team fixtures, will not only benefit Development Squad players, but will also allow Roy Hodgson greater flexibility with regard to the Premier League’s new squad rules.
Suspending involvement in a reserve competition that Fulham were doing quite well in may surprise a few, but I reckon this is a smart move. Anyone who’s been to a Premier League reserve game will know that there are played at half pace and just aren’t the place to judge a young player’s potential. Too often the bloated size of the squad means that up and coming talents, who have impressed in the youth team, don’t get a run in a meaningful fixture.
It will be interesting to see precisely what the programme for the boys in the 18-21 year-old age bracket and how much we learn about their development as the games will take place behind closed doors. And don’t read anything into the reference to Roy Hodgson in the last sentence – I’ve been fooled by the offal before.