|NextGen Series Gives Our Youth A Chance?|
|Written by Neil McCallum|
|Monday, 12 December 2011 22:02|
The final round of Nextgen matches took place at Celtic Park last Wednesday night in what was ultimately be a dead game. Marseille coming from 2 down to beat ten-man Barcelona at home scuppered any chances of progressing from the group. Despite our losses to Barca, Celtic U19’s equipped themselves well in the competition, defeating Man City homes and away, and winning the last tie against Marseilles at home 3-0.
At the end of the 6 matches, Group 1 finished like this:
Group 1 winners Barcelona and runners up Marseille will be joined in the quarter finals by Liverpool, Sporting Lisbon, Spurs, Aston Villa, Ajax and more than likely Inter Milan will make up the eight. Barcelona have shown us a left back Grimaldo, in my opinion a centre mid with a real chance in the game Samper who previously turned down Arsenal and a Cameroon centre forward Dongou sent of in the aforementioned Marseille game scored a hat-trick against us in the last game.
Not to be outdone we have brought through Paul George at Ross County, Marcus Fraser coming on in the Rennes game, Dylan McGeouch scoring against St Mirren. Following behind a young lad moved up from Dumfries at 14 current Scotland International Denny Johnstone comes from good stock, his great-grandfather having won the Scottish League Cup with East Fife before having a long career with Queen of the South. Johnstone, being a bit younger than the rest made the bench in Barcelona.
Will the competition prove worthwhile? Well those involved have certainly been impressed and it looks like next season will be expanded to 24 teams with a TV contract. Moreover with no reserve league these kids need somewhere to play and be tested. The challenge of bringing youngsters through is always that difficult transition to first team football. How many times have we heard about this kid or that who’s going to be the next big thing but ends up being the next big nearly guy. Has anyone thought they haven't taken their chance at first team football? If we are to bring them through they must get more regular football. Oustanding talent such as Forrest or McGeady can make the grade, but often you’ll hear those in football comment that someone didn’t make it because they missed out on that next step up at 17/18 so when the chance came at 20, they were just not quite ready, for example, 19 year old Matthews and Wanyama have had a season and a half at least of regular first team football. The challenge for our club is how do we give them that vital extra level of experience without flooding the first team with untried youngsters.
The question for us fans - rather than track others around Europe are we willing to be patient and give them a chance?
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|Last Updated on Monday, 19 December 2011 23:49|