Fleetwood Town’s technical director Gretar Steinsson says a recent cash reward from the EFL for giving young English players a chance to flourish in League One will be pumped straight back into youth development.
Town were given a cash boost by EFL Futures for giving a number of English youngsters like Kyle Dempsey, Ash Hunter, Joe Maguire, George Glendon and now departed loan-duo Liverpool’s Cameron Brannagan and PNE’s Ben Davies a chance to shine in their starting line-up in the 2016/17 term.
The EFL scheme to encourage the development of young English talent has seen the body commit a total of £2.25 million over the course of three seasons for clubs who give starting opportunities in league fixtures to players under the age of 21 and who are eligible to play for England.
The campaign is central to the EFL’s ambition to create opportunities for young playing talent and represents a collective commitment made by clubs to improve opportunities for home grown players.
And after receiving the biggest chunk of the £294,000 League One pot for their commitment to giving home-grown talent a chance, Fleetwood are directly re-investing the money they have earned from EFL Futures back into youth development.
And Steinsson revealed the money will go towards sending one of their academy sides to Iceland and into the recruitment of a first team nutritionist.
He said: “We will use the money generated by this in two parts, one to send our U14s Academy side to a tournament this summer in Iceland which will be hugely beneficial to their development, but also to help towards the recruitment of a first team nutritionist, so the money is going to directly improve the future of our club.”
Last season was the first for the club’s Category Three Academy and Steinsson says developing young players is a key part of the club’s strategy.
He said:: “For a club of our size, the development of young players has to be our strategy of gaining success.
“We’ve found using young players not only allows us to deliver a key priority of developing young English talent which EFL Futures is designed to do, but also enables us to produce players which can become saleable assets. This is a big part of what we are trying to do in the future.”
A total of £600,000 has been shared across 46 League One and League Two Clubs from the EFL Futures fund.
And Shaun Harvey, EFL Chief Executive, has welcomed the financial contribution EFL Futures has made.
He said: “When we launched EFL Futures we discussed the need for a collective commitment to support the progression of young players into starting line-ups.
“EFL Clubs already play a big part in player development through the Academy system, but EFL Futures provides an additional incentive to give more playing opportunities to our young local footballers. We will continue to look at further ways to shape the ambition of providing a pathway from Academies into the first team.
“I’m sure that the payments announced today will have a positive and lasting impact and that EFL Futures will deliver the required change in what is a hugely significant area for the long-term growth of the English game.”