Tottenham development coach Tim Sherwood says the new U21 Premier League competition doesn't fully cater for young talent.
Sherwood believes his club’s decision to withdraw from reserve competition in 2009 benefited their younger players and he is unsure about whether the new format will do the same. Sherwood preferred to organise friendlies against Football League sides to develop youngsters and enable senior players to regain fitness or match sharpness.
“If you’re not getting a chance on the field, where is the platform where you can perform?” he told the London Evening Standard. “Is it the Under-21 league? The jury is out.
“We arranged in-house development games to suit us, to give game time to players at all stages. We played against players who were in the first teams at their clubs, so the level of the opposition was better. A senior player has tended to see playing in the reserves as a punishment. When you look at the Under-21 League, it’s crucial to get the senior players out of that mindset.
“This League is billed as ‘the best of the rest’ but it isn’t. We’d rather see Harry Kane go on loan to Norwich; we’d rather see Andros Townsend be part of the first-team squad. We think it’s better for Massimo Luongo’s development if he’s at Ipswich.
“Steven Caulker was on loan at Yeovil, Bristol City and Swansea before he was ready to play here. If he’d played only in an Under-21 League, I’m not sure you could have trusted him to face Manchester United at Old Trafford.”