Youth Football expert wants U18 games to have competitive edge added

We’re delighted to welcome the founder of Kinetic Academy Harry Hudson as our exclusive columnist. Each week the youth football expert will be giving his views on the biggest talking points on wonderkids across the UK…

Kinetic Academy founder, Harry Hudson, knows as much about youth football as anyone else but he wants more competition involved.

Currently, the Under-18s of every Premier League and Football League club only play games against other sides of their age whether that be domestically or in the UEFA Youth Cup for Champions League clubs.

While the games do usually count towards a league standing or knockout competition, in the basis of the FA Youth Cup, there is not that same desire to win as there is in senior football at every level.

Under-21 sides do play three games in the Papa John’s Trophy group stages against League One and Two sides but very few have ever qualified from that stage and none have reached the final.

Hudson is not sure how a restructure could work to get these sides into the pyramid lower down but he does want something to be done to make games more competitive and mean more to the players.

“How it would work within the FA would be so difficult,” Hudson told The Football Wonderkids. “I wouldn’t know the answer, to be honest.

“A lot of young players who potentially get brought up in a category one academy with lovely facilities and a style of football that is a lot of respect for each other.

“When you look at Manchester United play against Manchester City at Under-18s, it’s not the same. It’s not a tense game, there are no tackles flying in and there’s no crowd shouting.

“When you suddenly put one of those players on loan in League Two, it’s a different game of football and I don’t know how many players get lost at that stage of the game when they don’t know how to head it or pick up second balls.

“Pat of me thinks it would be beneficial for the top clubs and the players there if there was a more competitive edge to their games but I don’t know how that would look.”

In other Kinetic Academy news, Hudson is a fan of the way Rangers have gambled in their recruitment of young talent over the summer.