Daniel Gregory’s weekly column: Revamp of reserve leagues is a great idea

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FLICKING through the nationals over the Easter weekend, I stumbled across an article by Ian Herbert in The Independent about news of a possible change to the way the reserve and under-18s leagues are set-up.

This move has to be applauded in my opinion. At present the reserve team leagues are almost pointless.

Big clubs like Manchester City, Tottenham, QPR and Stoke don’t even bother fielding teams, and players only use fixtures as a means of getting in some game time if they’re developing as a player or returning from an injury.

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas had his critics at Chelsea before he was casually fired by ‘trigger finger’ Roman Abramovich - I certainly wasn’t one of them.

Villas-Boas suggested he should be allowed to field a reserve side in the Football League - His idea was shrugged off by the Football League, who called it offensive. How short sighted.

Everton boss David Moyes also championed the idea of his club putting a B team in the higher echelons of the non league rungs - again this was thwarted by the powers that be.

The use of B teams in lower divisions is allowed in Spain and many other countries - why not here?

We should be looking at the way the Spanish develop their young players and trying to mirror it.

If prospects like Paul Pogba at Manchester United, Raheem Sterling at Liverpool, and Everton’s Ross Barkley were able to play a real competitive game of football week in-week out, then they would see a real development in their game.

Real Madrid and Barcelona are developing some superb prospects and have been doing so for years now.

Surely this has something to do with the Spanish system of the big clubs B teams playing for points and league placings every week when they are still learning their trade?

There is no substitute for experience and giving our top prospects a taste of competitive action every Saturday would boost our chances of churning out more world class players.

* I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Andrew ‘Mo’ Stevenson, who sadly passed away yesterday afternoon.

Mo was a great guy who was involved at Scarborough RUFC, played for Staxton CC and also helped out with Klosters FC.

His passing is a sad loss to the local sporting community and he will be sorely missed by everyone who was lucky enough to know him. R.I.P Mo.