Rodgers and Hughes backing youth plans

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has thrown his support behind Greg Dyke’s controversial plan to introduce Premier League B teams into a new ‘League Three’ from 2016-17.

Football Association chairman Dyke has found himself facing a furious backlash for the plan, which was one of a host of England Commission proposals unveiled on Thursday aimed at boosting the number of English players at the top of club football.

However, Rodgers has bucked the trend of criticism by revealing it is an idea he has long been a “big advocate of”.

The 41-year-old, who spent much of his early coaching career overseeing youth development at Reading and Chelsea, said: “It’s something that I’ve thought for years that should happen. It’s one I’m a big advocate of.

“I’ve worked in development for nearly 15 years and I look at the investment; there’s a huge investment that’s been put into young players in this country, and there’s a huge investment that’s been put into coaching. We’re talking 300-odd million pounds in coaching for young players to come through, and yet we look at the numbers and the stats and they’ll tell you that there’s only 30 per cent of young (English) players that are getting an opportunity in what is the most competitive league in the world, so we have to find a way to give them the opportunity.

“People will always talk about the tradition of the game here in this country, but one of the things that’s most constant is change and you have to look at ways in which you can be better and giving young players a chance.

“And I think that the B league, however it is formed, is something that’s very important to give young players that competitive football.”

Stoke manager Mark Hughes also gave his backing. “The academy system is good to a point, but there needs to be something after that for them,” he said. “If it is rolled out correctly then it will be beneficial to everyone.”

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