Preston striker Davies wants FA commission to target grassroots

Former England striker Kevin Davies has said that the new FA commission must target grassroots football, Sky Sports has reported.

Chairman of the FA, Greg Dyke, this week revealed eight names that will be part of a new commission to study methods of getting the number of young English players up in the top leagues. The former Bolton captain has supported the idea and but says it must focus on grassroots football at the lowest level.

The one-cap England man said: “I think it should have been done 10-15 years ago. Spain, Germany, they’ve all passed us, we’re down to 17th in the rankings. Countries like US and the Swiss are above us so there’s obviously a problem.

There’s not enough English players playing. It’s 30% (in the Premier League) this year, down from 72% when it started in ’92 so it’s been a gradual process and hopefully [the commission] is asking all the right people.

But I think they need to start at the bottom. He (Dyke) is talking about 2022 but people like Wilshere and (Daniel) Sturridge are going to be in the 30s so it’s the ones below that they need to be looking at now and the ones even lower than that in grass roots. Get the coaching standards right, look at the facilities, just get people playing more football.

Davies himself has his own views on what needs to be done to improve the situation. “The academies are taking on players too young, I think they need to be enjoying their football more, ” he said. “There’s too much pressure on them from a young age. They’re flipping from club to club at seven, eight, nine, and getting rejected – that’s wrong for a start.

Coaching is expensive; a lot of the coaches at the Academy at Bolton can’t go to the next level because it’s too expensive. It’s £5,500 to get up to UEFA A standard; it’s too expensive, so make that more affordable as well.

The 36-year-old revealed he would be happy to share his opinions with the new commission and added that the increase in money in football is also part of the problem.

He said: “I think the academy kids now get it a little too easy. We were YTS’; we were cleaning the toilets until 5pm, cleaning the stands out, doing all the dirty jobs, and it wasn’t done in spite, it was done to discipline you and keep you grounded.

They get too much too soon now and football becomes a means to an end for them. It’s not about playing football, it’s about how much money they can earn and what lifestyle they can live whereas when we were growing up it was all about playing football.

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