Crewe chief Gradi fed-up as Liverpool, Man City pick off best youngsters

Crewe Alexandra chief Dario Gradi says new youth recruitment rules are threatening his club's future.

Crewe Alexandra chief Dario Gradi says new youth recruitment rules are threatening his club's future.

Gradi has a good track record of producing top-notch stars like Neil Lennon, Rob Jones, Danny Murphy and Dean Ashton.

Now he is turning out a new batch, with NINE of his starting 11 in Crewe's last four League Two games having come through their academy.

England Under-17 striker Max Clayton has already been targeted by Liverpool and Manchester City are keen on Adam Smith — who is yet to play for the first team.

But the EPPP could mean top-flight clubs cherry-picking the top talent and paying lower fees for players under the age of 17.

Gradi, 70, said: "Basically the Football League clubs have been bullied into agreeing to what the Premier League wants.

"What they are saying is, 'If you don't do as we say, we won't give you any money'.

"I'd think big clubs have approached at least a third of our players already."

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