Ex-West Ham boss Roeder: Battle for England best kids a bloodbath

The battle for England's brightest young players has been described as a "bloodbath".

The battle for England's brightest young players has been described as a "bloodbath".

"It's a free for all, a bloodbath," Glenn Roeder told the Observer. "You get scouts from rival clubs who aren't supposed to be allowed into academy under-16 games getting in by pretending to be a kid's father. If they like a player they can then contact his family direct."

Roeder, the former West Ham and Newcastle manager, had a short stint in charge of the academy at St James' Park and, as a coach at Upton Park, was responsible for developing the talents of, among many others, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and Anton Ferdinand.

"There are very few English boys out there who will make it to the top so clubs are desperate to get hold of those they think might have a chance," he says. "By the time you get to under-10 level, especially in the London area, all the best players are at academies but, if they go on to turn professional, there's a good chance it won't be with the club which originally signed them up as a nine-year-old."