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Looking hard enough?

Paul Lake was commenting today on the current crop of youngsters at the club ahead of the FA Youth Cup final, and also reminiscing about his own days as part of a batch of kids who made the grade at the club.

One aspect he gave particular credit to was the club set up - in particular the work of Jim Cassell, Paul Power and the rest of the scouting network, which was interesting when I came across an article quoting Cassell and the scouting methods.

"I think there's a trend at the moment to widen the net and
I wouldn't criticise that approach. But all we can do is look at our own club.
We haven't quite gone into the area of trawling around the world yet -
whether we will I think depends upon the finances of the club".

Obviously the club has done a fantastic job in bringing through the youngsters that have come through over the past couple of seasons, with another crop knocking at the door but I find it disappointing that the club would restrict themselves to the local area.

We must clearly be able to compete with any other club in the locality when it comes to attracting players from Manchester and the North-West but it must make sense to 'cast the net' as far and wide as possible in bringing the next generation of players to the club.

Cassell mentioned the 'finances of the club' as one of the reasons, but it surely wouldn't bankrupt the club to establish a network of contacts and scouts around Europe (and beyond) to bring in the 16-21 age group to the club?

There must already be a scouting network of some sorts covering Europe - bearing in mind we have brought in Samaras and Riera this season alone.

We don't have the financial clout to be able to compete with the very top clubs in attracting players once they get to 21+ so it makes sense to nab them before they get established and beyond our reach.

Any other approach and we are only hindering our progress for the future.