Rafa Benitez talked recently about bringing players through the Newcastle Academy, but the Newcastle manager is also very pragmatic and knows what works in football and what doesn’t – and he has said you cannot rely on the Academy for all your players.
Rafa is talking about what the top teams have to do to be competitive – teams like Real Madrid, Liverpool, Valencia, Inter, Chelsea and Napoli – all teams he has managed in the past.
And since Rafa is now at Newcastle United he is talking about the famous Tyneside club.
Rafa Benitez in his office bring interviewed by nufcTV
Rafa has given a long 25 minute interview with nufcTV on his first year at the club, where he talks at length about a number of different subjects.
This is some of what he said about bringing in players and using the Youth Academy at Newcastle:
“It would be perfect to have a lot of local players, homegrown players, playing in the first team, but it isn’t easy.
“It is not difficult here, is not easy everywhere else.”
“You can sign players from Spain, France, Holland or Italy and they are just Academy players, they go alongside the English ones.”
“To have someone like Paul Dummett, who can go into the first team and play so many games is really good for the spirit of the team.”
“The ideal situation would be to bring a couple of players from our academy each year, but if you want to compete at the highest level it is difficult.”
“If you want to do that you have to bring in players from outside, or abroad, to compete with the other teams.”
When Mike Ashley arrived at the club in late May ten years ago, he wanted to set up a thriving Youth Academy and then Chairman Chris Mort did that and brought in five top youngsters the following January.
As a walk down memory lane those five youngsters were Hungarian Tamas Kadar, Swede Ole Soderburg, Englishman Ben Tozer, Italian Fabio Zamblera and Frenchman Wesley Baheng, and all will have left the club without making it.
Tamas Kadar did the best of the five and there were rumors we may even be after him last summer during the Euro 2016 Championships, when he was playing well for Hungary.
But we have not been all that successful in bringing players through the Youth Academy.
That’s what Rafa wants to do, but the above may be a veiled message to Ashley that you need to do more than that if Newcastle want to be a top club in Europe again – like spend some real money on top players.
We hope that’s want Mike Ashley wants to do – because it’s certainly what the fans and what the manager wants.