West Ham academy chief Carr pleased with new U21 Premier League comp

Premier League clubs are pleased with the first weeks of the new U21 Premier League competition.

Tony Carr, the academy director at West Ham who coached players like Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand, is cautiously optimistic.

“Our impressions have been quite positive,” he told the London Evening Standard. “It’s a bit more competitive and the structure has given more edge, because reserve football had become a burden for players.

“They get a flavour of playing different sides, in the north rather than just in the south, and the level is decent. There is a nice batch of youngsters providing a good vehicle to try to bridge the gap.

“So it is one indicator of progress but the best vehicle is still to get players out on loan. We would like to use the League as a stepping stone for 18 to 21-year-olds and then look for them to get out on loan and experience first-team football.

“It is impossible to recreate first-team football at the junior level but they have freshened it up. The Premier League is a difficult competition to break into, so most players need stepping stones and hopefully this will provide one.”

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