young footballers
SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - APRIL 05: Under 9's players take penalties against the first team during a training session between the First Team and the under 9's at The Academy of Light on April 5, 2018 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images)

Why are so many talented players lost through the academy process? And why do so many modern day footballers drop off rapidly despite being tipped for world glory? Is there an ever-changing mentality in football that it is an easy game? Meaning that modern-day youth teams are going soft at the core? There are plenty of points to pick out with the state of world football, including the positions of youth academies and how they are run, but ultimately it is the mindset that has resulted in problems with young footballers.

Young Footballers: Why do so Many Slip Through the Cracks?

At the forefront of our minds right now is Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund. He has made a big step in his career. Showing the attitude of a player that can go right to the top of world football.

There will now be lots of players that chose to follow suit and move abroad but in recent years it is the lack of drive and determination from young footballers at Premier League level that has seen significantly fewer players get into the world-class bracket.

Sancho has put himself in a wonderful position to develop and become a wonderful player. But it’s not all about the talent. A lot of great youth players have similar talent but aren’t willing to do anything with it. They get indoctrinated into believing the path to being a professional is then easy.

In reality, the challenge in football is not to get into an academy, it’s to make the step further. This doesn’t happen to everyone for multiple reasons. Players look to only go forward in their careers, not fully considering sideways or backwards moves that could have hugely rewarding consequences.

Players like Dominic Solanke in recent years that showed the right mentality in wanting to push on to seek first team football by moving clubs haven’t gone any further. Solanke spent one and a half stagnant years at Liverpool. Even though he was the brightest talent at Chelsea at the time.

Although there is no way to fully understand why it is the common conception that modern football youth players are too comfortable in their positions. They see themselves as professional footballers when they are merely starting their journeys.

Where it has Changed

The lives of Steven Gerrard, John Terry, Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand and many more were made, matured and ingrained into them on the training field. They were not there to be footballers, they were understudies that would be almost bullied. This being an unimaginable scene for players nowadays being the main reason why football is being said to be going soft.

It was the hard life that led to loyalty. The clubs meant more to players. This loyalty is going out of our game. Traits like determination, drive, internal motivation and winning are not there anymore. The gap between players and fans has been lost. It is not an expectation anymore, it is revelled in and praised when shown.

Players need to show more passion when progressing. So meanwhile they continue to develop and improve technically as footballers, they pick up on experience and become a well-rounded person. A lover of the game. Not someone who wishes to take advantage of the lucrative paycheque at the end of each week.

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