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Future planning

3 December 2014

Ollie backs youth development but wants help from up high

Following on from his post-match comments at the weekend when he expressed his frustrations with the loan market and Premier League proposals for the Under 21 set up, Ian Holloway has moved to outline his views in more detail.

"Before the emergency loan window closed last week, I spent so much time attempting to borrow players from the Premier League and the Championship with no success whatsoever and it makes me wonder what's going on at the moment," he said.

"In the past I have borrowed and developed young players who have gone on to have good careers in the Premier League and I know Millwall have had success in this area too, with the likes of Harry Kane, Ryan Mason and Andros Townsend.

"But for some reason the well is drying up and it gives me cause for concern, not just for ourselves but for the future of English football.

"At the top end, some of the bigger clubs are stacking and racking loads of promising youngsters who stagnate because they are not getting the chance to develop by playing real competitive football.

"Making huge prize money available for the Under 21 League isn't going to solve that problem. It would be far better for Premier League players to be loaned to Championship clubs where the football is of a high standard and is played for real, in front of big passionate crowds, and winning and losing matters because people's livelihoods depend on it.

"We have loaned Fred Onyedinma and Jake Goodman to Wycombe and Wimbledon respectively for that very reason. For them, the experience will be invaluable and I expect them to come back brighter, fresher and battle hardened.

"The future for us as a club has to be to take in youngsters at eight or nine and teach them how we want to play so there is a seamless transition all the way through the Academy through the Under 21s to the first team.

"We have a number of senior players out of contract at the end of this season and I'm looking to create space for more of our own home produced young players to come through into the team.

"We already have a number in and around the squad with the likes of Jack Powell, Aiden O'Brien and John Marquis, in addition to Fred, Jake and Sid Nelson.

"I need to assess the ones who will be ready to become first team regulars next season and beyond, and by giving them senior experience elsewhere it takes them on a stage from playing in the Under 21s.

"I don't really want to increasingly have to look abroad to improve our team. What I am asking for is some help from those responsible for making the big decisions in the game to enable us as a Championship club to stay competitive while bringing on some of the best young talent from the Premier League alongside those coming through our own ranks.

"If we can do that, everyone's a winner."

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