Villa academy chief Jones hails results

Aston Villa academy director Bryan Jones insists the criticism of England's youth development system doesn't apply to the Villans.

Jones told Villa's website: "I think the Academy system has delivered here at Villa and it's certainly delivered at one or two other clubs. The Academy system has it's weaknesses - name a system that doesn't. But if you're talking about pure results and pure production of players, then the Academy at Aston Villa is working. Of that there is no doubt and the evidence is there for all to see with the players that have come through.

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"There are many fine points in the Academy system, but obviously no system's perfect and a constant review should take place. I think we have to look at each Academy and ask what's come through over the last ten years . If people feel not enough players are coming through, we have to analyse the situation and find out why."

Critics are unhappy at the number of foreign players now brought in at youth team level, but Jones hit back: "My job is not to produce players for England. It's a bonus if a player does come through to represent the country at Under-21 level or beyond -like Gabby, Luke Moore or Gary Cahill.

"But my job is to produce players for Aston Villa's first-team set up. If needs be, I will go abroad to recruit the best possible talent."

"We've got a great staff here and you can see the results of their hard work over the years.

"I think we've been lucky and so have the players in that we haven't in recent years had the millions that clubs like Chelsea have spent. So we've been forced to develop our own and I think the managers have been forced to perhaps play these players than sometimes they would have liked.

"But if you do give them the opportunity at an early age and you're patient, English players do come through the system.

"Now we have got money, but Martin O'Neill is still prepared to give youngsters a chance. Look at his squad and the likes of Gabby Agbonlahor, Craig Gardner and others are still getting a chance.

"I think he's got a lovely balance between the youngsters who have come through the system and players with a bit more experience.

"He's also buying one or two younger players - Ashley Young and Nigel Reo-Coker are not exactly geriatrics are they?"

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