Sydney FC chief Lugt concentrating on player development

Sydney FC chief executive Edwin Lugt says the club will concentrate on player development from an early age so everybody involved is on the same wavelength.

The Sky Blues plan to begin youth development from the age of 10, indicating that the reigning champions are serious about bringing the best homegrown players through the ranks before they go on to bigger and better things.

“The advantage of doing this is that once we get to the stage where we’re really going to develop our talent from the u10s up, we’re going to make sure that these kids are learning that same philosophy, playing style and culture as our A-League squad,” he told Goal.com.

“I do have the experience having worked in the country that has a similarity in that respect to Australia: you will always be a feeder country in terms of players.”

Lugt also said that the fact the A-League is still in its infancy means that financial problems are usually encountered which forces clubs to act more intelligently in regards to player development.

“If you look at the J-League the average revenues of the J-League club are about $56-58 million and they don’t have a salary cap and they spent 70% of that on players. The salary cap here is not even $3 million so you can’t compete from a commercial point of view. So if you don’t have the money, you have to be smarter,” he added.

“We’ve got to make sure two to three players will be coming through the system every year, play for two or three years in our A-League squad before travelling overseas. That is, if they are good enough.

“It’s not about buying the best players around: there’s only one way going forward and that’s developing your own talents. Yes, there will be the occasional player runs out his contract and goes for free.

“But with the maximum sizes of squads and the salary cap those limit you from entering into long-term contracts. We’d love to go into four or five year contracts with certain players but there’s a lack of flexibility which prevents us from doing that now.”

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