Amitai Winehouse: Why Academy hopefuls must show worth

Chris Powell was dismissed as Huddersfield Town manager last week, replaced by David Wagner, the former Borussia Dortmund second-team coach.

New Huddersfield coach David Wagner.
New Huddersfield coach David Wagner.

The club insisted that results were not behind his dismissal, but a failure to meet specific targets that the club have put in place, like integrating more young players from the academy into the first team.

It is a nice idea in principle, but a friend of mine summed up the problem, possibly without knowing it, asking why so many of the club’s academy graduates are so slight.

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Using academy players is a worthwhile aim, but only when they are good enough.

It is hard for a team like Huddersfield, who have to compete with Leeds United and also Manchester United and Manchester City for young talent.

It also moves in cycles. Leeds are currently in the throes of a golden generation, but there have been incredibly lean spells at Thorp Arch in the past. Paul Robinson and Alan Smith were followed up by Simon Johnson and Jamie McMaster.

There is no point forcing youth players who are part of one of those downwards spells into the first team. It is not a manager’s fault if a generation simply is not good enough to use.