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West Ham academy chief Carr: Restrictive recruitment laws hurting local talent

West Ham United academy boss Tony Carr says youth recruitment laws are too strict.

West Ham have three players in England's Under-21 squad for tomorrow's European Championship qualifier at Wembley against Portugal - defender James Tomkins, midfielder Junior Stanislas and striker Zavon Hines.

All three have been members of West Ham's first team this season and will be nurturing ambitions of following in the footsteps of top English talent who also came through the club's famed academy, including Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Joe Cole, Jermain Defoe and Michael Carrick. London clubs, in fact, provide more than half of Stuart Pearce's squad for tomorrow's encounter but Carr is concerned that there is still just not enough local talent to go round.

"Because of restrictions, though, it is becoming more difficult to recruit young local talent," Carr, West Ham's director of youth development, to the London Evening Standard. "Young players between the ages of nine and 12 have to live within an hour's travelling time of their club's training ground and 90 minutes between the ages of 13-16.

"At the moment, we can sign players from other countries during that time. I know, though, that there are moves to ban all international transfers under the age of 18. I understand why the rules were introduced, to avoid youngsters travelling long distances to and from training and to prevent disruption to their schooling, but the regulations should be relaxed. As it is, we could never develop another Michael Carrick or Manchester United another David Beckham.

"Clubs like ours should be able to scout other parts of the country. If a young player in Birmingham, for example, wanted to come to us and we fulfilled strict criteria about education and home life, then I believe he should be allowed to move.

"I know that there is a feeling among some Premier League clubs that the present rules are effectively a restraint of trade."

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Tribal Football Staff

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