PEP GUARDIOLA says he won’t take the risk of giving extended chances to his promising kids.
A few hours later Manchester City lost surprisingly to Wolves, another club, like mine, which is cautious about regularly exposing post-academy youngsters to the fires of the Premier League.
3 Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham are all impressing at ChelseaCredit: Getty – Contributor
3 Pep Guardiola is a big fan of Phil Foden – but hasn't played him very oftenCredit: Getty – Contributor
Guardiola has taken an overly-dogmatic stance, although it is hard to argue with two consecutive championships from a truly marvellous team.
Still, fans love home-made starlets. You had only to watch Sean and Matty, the Longstaff brothers of Newcastle, do so much towards beating Manchester United on Sunday to appreciate what that meant to the Toon.
But the match provided a warning, too.
At some point United fielded six former academy lads and the lack of assurance under pressure undermined whatever boss Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s tactics were.
Guardiola is being questioned repeatedly about why Phil Foden is so rarely among his starting team. He says the 19-year-old would be taking the place of an experienced player, almost certainly of high international calibre, so why take the chance? Does he consistently leave out one of the Silvas, Ilkay Gundogan or Rodrigo?
City can afford any available player. So, aware of limited first team chances, 17-year-old Jadon Sancho decided to leave for Borussia Dortmund where he’s had plenty.
3 Jadon Sancho is tearing up the BundesligaCredit: Getty – Contributor
A year later Sancho was playing for England and even now Foden isn’t.
Callum Hudson-Odoi, of Chelsea and of similar age, nearly joined Bayern Munich, only for Chelsea to make first team offers and add a nought to his salary.
That paid off, too, with selection for England.
Whether their current transfer ban has activated manager Frank Lampard’s revolutionary thoughts at Chelsea I can only guess.
But he has placed his faith in a bunch of boys and now we shall have to wait and see if Roman Abramovich will ever open his wallet so generously again. Unlocking a treasure trove of talent, Chelsea are playing in an exhilarating way, as if Eden Hazard was a generation away rather than just a few months.
Southgate has responded by picking Hudson-Odoi, Fikayo Tomori, Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount.
What a gift to England from a club with a history of renting out dozens of its best youngsters.
You can hardly blame Guardiola for looking far beyond Foden. Sancho is a warning that things are changing, though.
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The block on young British talent is being cleared and the best of the lads won’t have to wait into their 20s to exist beyond the Carabao Cup and the bench.
Manchester United have twice proved they could win trophies with kids.
And while I doubt this will happen again with any club, my choice would be to give younger players — Declan Rice is ours — a decent chance to thrive.