“Too many times I see again and again a child’s potential to express themselves on a football pitch affected by the wrong goals with winning more important than development….”

One factor continues to trouble me when watching football in England compared to when I played and lived overseas, why can other countries continually produce talented two footed footballers who possess technique and vision, where are the future home grown stars in England?

Working in grassroots youth football as a coach has given me an insight to some of the challenges that face the development of our young players but I passionately believe we have the exact same talent pool as countries overseas, it is how we develop our children from a young age, what we instil in them which is key.

Too many times I have witnessed in youth football a culture of “must win”, “must get the result” – even from a young age. The result is often to play the ball long, focus on utilising those players who are maybe bigger, stronger or faster at a younger age and self expression is often frowned upon and seen as a risk. Sound familiar?

I know firsthand that Academies regularly scout local grassroots football to try to secure the talented young players to give them an opportunity to be professionally coached and developed in the right way where technique comes first and winning is a distant second to development, but we have a gap in our football system that is not being addressed. What happens to the many other players not lucky enough to enter the Academy system? How can we ensure we focus on what is the key to their development?

At Phil Walker Football we are attempting to address this issue by giving children and parent’s a development path that allows the child to reach their goal with the focus on technique and ball comfort. Our focus is to take the player who is maybe newer to the game than others, or maybe a later developer or maybe smaller in size at an earlier age and teach them the right way to play football, to realise they can with dedication and practise develop the right skills and technique which will allow them over time to fulfil their potential and their love of the game.