|NextGen: Manchester City|
|NextGen: Manchester City|
|Written by Neil McCallum|
|Monday, 07 November 2011 08:27|
NextGen football returns to Celtic Park at 7.45 on Monday night with Manchester City visiting. The malaise around the club would hardly fill you with any enthusiasm however remember through and through and there were parts of the Rennes game when we actually looked like a team, especially the third goal. Anyone at the first home game would appreciate the quality of football on show not just by Barcelona but both teams. Since then we played particularly well at Manchester City winning 4-2 with ex-player and Under 21 manager Billy Stark being delighted with what he saw. Watch the highlights to see Dylan McGeouch dance through the Manchester City team to set up the second goal.
Highlights and match report can be seen here:
As an aside Manchester City had England goalkeeper Angus Gunn, yes England goalkeeper. The son of Bryan Gunn recently signed from Norwich was in goal as regular keeper Eirik Johansen was on international duty with Norway 21’s.
Marcus Fraser made his competitive debut against Rennes at Celtic Park coming on for Glenn Loovens at half time, a defender actually going 45 minutes without losing a goal and having Majstorovic as his partner must be something of a miracle. Calum McGregor as an attacking midfielder was called into the first team squad away at Rennes and Paul George made it onto the park at Ross County in the league cup.
A win is a must after Marseille came back from 2 down to beat Barcelona 4-2 last week. Surprisingly Barcelona had three booked and current star of the Series Dongou sent off.
The table currently looks like this.
Here’s hoping the mainstream press might push this a bit more and not struggle to know it’s actually on.
Graham Hunter recently included Watt, Twardzik and George as ones to watch in this recent report:
A New Era of Football
When I moved to Spain from London ten years ago it was in search of a different, more technical style of football in comparison to what felt like an increasingly physique and athleticism-driven Premier League.
I could not have anticipated that the era of diminutive gems like Leo Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, David Silva, Juan Mata was about to dawn but it has been both enormously enjoyable and educational to watch the way in which Spain, reigning World and European champions at senior level and European champions at club level, put a premium on technique, skill, intelligence, accurate passing and pressing. I've tried to communicate my enthusiasm for those trends on Sky, Talksport, Radio 5 Live, Uefa.com and other media over the years.
Although there has always been a stronger umbilical link between fans and a team which has a good number of locally born or trained footballers I certainly can't remember another era in my career when youth development has been more en vogue throughout the whole of Europe.
Of course when the Busby Babes were emerging, when Celtic won the 1967 European Cup with a team born in an incredibly small geographical range of Parkhead, at Ajax in the early 1970s and mid 1990's, or when Sir Alex Ferguson formed a dynasty with home bred talents like the Neville's, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs fans and media latched on to the unusually rich vein of developed rather than purchased stars.
But due in no small measure to the rampant success of the La Masia system at FC Barcelona the topic of how youthful ability is developed and educated, what age starlets should be promoted to first team football and how to blend the multi-cultural talents who are now dotted around the academies of Europe's brand name clubs is currently under intense focus.
Which is why, after several months of the Next Generation Series, which has all the feel and style of a Champions League for U19's, I find it impossible to understand why this brilliant but simple concept hasn't existed for years.
Budding talents who will, imminently, be starring in the Champions League plus in Ligue 1, La Liga, the English Premier League, Serie A the Eredivisie and so on are being exposed to different footballing cultures, travel and the timetable of the top professionals.
Already, from the games I've been at, I'd pick out Jean Marie Dongou, Sergi Samper, Alex Grimaldo (Barça), Tony Watt, Filip Twardzik, Paul George (Celtic) and Oumar Diop (Marseille) as having absolutely outstanding futures - and having given the
But the impact of what the clubs say about this tournament is just as striking. Tim Sherwood, Technical Co-ordinator at Spurs, where Massimo Luongo has impressed, explains that: "Our philosophy is that this is far, far more about development than
Oscar Garcia, coach at Barcelona, adds: "I won the European Cup as a player and this feels like a junior Champions League so we are very proud to be in it. "But we are also proud to have used players born in 1995 against opponents born in 1992 - our guys will be more experienced as a result and have to use speed of thought and intelligence to cope. "I think that some teams probably still have the idea that it's about winning and thus they take decisions differently on who to play. For us it's about formation and learning not ultimately about winning."
Last word to Jean Luc Cassini, Marseille trainer. "We think experience like this is very important. "Barça are in our group and are acknowledged to have the best youth development in Europe. "They are copied everywhere but it's very exciting for us to
NextGen, to me, is simply outstanding. Fresh, technically advanced, open, attacking football performed by emerging players who, in my experience, put a high premium on control, touch, vision, passing and skill.
I recommend that you catch it if you can and by all means share your views with me @BumperGraham on Twitter
A Couple of Stars To Watch
Jean Marie Dongou (FCB)
Omar Diop (Olympique Marseille)