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Mbappes brother the better Felix devastating Doak is i UEFA

ที่มาของบทความ:admin เรียกดู:发表เวลา:2022-12-04 07:44

TheChampions Leaguegroup games are over and only half of the English contingent are through. No, not the senior competition, but the under-19 UEFA Youth League, the prelude to the big European nights.

No floodlights are required for the afternoon kick-offs that pit the academies of the teams sitting at the top table of Europe against each other.

The news of Kylian Mbappes brother, 15-year-old Ethan, making his full debut for Paris Saint-Germain under-19s last month was a rare moment when lots of eyes diverted towards the competition. It was the central midfielders fourth appearance in the competition this season, with his fifth, and second start, coming againstJuventusin the final group game.

Joao Felixs younger brother Hugo has three goals and two assists in his last three games for Benfica, with theAtletico Madrid forward, who cost 113million ($129.5m), believing his sibling is even better.

You may not have heard much ofLiverpools Oakley Cannonier,Barcelonas Victor Barbera, Paris Saint-Germains Ilyes Housni or Atletico Madrids Adrian Nino; but the idea is you will in the future. The quartet are leading the goalscoring charts after the group stages and have progressed to the knockout rounds with their clubs.

Liverpool did so with a convincing 5-0 victory against Napoli, without the injured Cannonier, whileManchester Citys qualification was secure before a 1-0 victory overSevilla. Both topped their groups.

The fortunes ofTottenham HotspurandChelsea, however, have been the opposite. The former finished third while the latter finished bottom; a surprise for the club who have been Englands most successful side by some distance.

They are two-time winners (2014-15 and 2015-16) of the competition, level with Barcelona (2013-14 and 2017-18), while the Portuguese duo Porto (2018-19) and Benfica (2021-22) have won it once alongsideReal Madrid(2019-20) and Red Bull Salzburg (2016-17).

When UEFA launched the competition, former president Michel Platini spoke about the opportunity for young players to develop and earn experience. There are benefits for clubs as they will be able to bridge the gap between their youth and first teams and enhance their commitment to developing their teams at youth level, he said.

The aim is to showcase the top European talent and see the best at youth level go up against each other, providing them with a stage for others to sit up and take notice.

Matches present tougher challenges against different styles and systems.

Its brilliant, said Liverpool under-18s manager Marc Bridge-Wilkinson after his sides 5-0 victory against Napoli this week. We get to play against teams from different cultures and backgrounds here and in their environment. We get to deal with the heat and the AstroTurf at Napoli, for example.

Hopefully it can open the eyes of each of the boys to what they have to go and play against in the future. If theyre lucky enough to go and achieve at whatever level, they go to play Champions League,Europa League, international competitions, whatever it may be, this opens their eyes. It is really important for their individual development and as a group of players it is fantastic.

The competition began in 2013-14 in an attempt to mirror the senior tournament and take a step forward in the development of the next generation of talent. The 32 teams who had qualified for the Champions League entered the competition and it followed the same format; the only difference being the one-legged knockout rounds.

After a two-year trial, UEFA decided to make it a permanent fixture of the calendar but expanded the competition to 64 teams. The group stage process remained, although only first place qualified directly for the knockout stages instead of the top two.

In a separate section, the youth domestic champions of the top 32 UEFA country coefficients entered, playing in two knockout rounds before facing the eight teams who finished second.

Spain has been the most consistent country to make the final 16. Of the 128 teams who have progressed from the completed tournaments, with the 2020-21 tournament cancelled due to COVID-19, 25 have been Spanish.

In total, 21 different nations have had teams represented at that stage of the competition.Englandhave had the second highest representation (23) before a significant drop off to France (11).

Unsurprisingly, the Spanish dominance has continued later into the tournament. Of the 32 semi-finalists, they have had nine, while six have come from Portugal, including four final appearances by Benfica, and five from England (Chelsea with four and Manchester City once).

The most important question is whether it is working. Academy football can be a lottery and players who progress to the highest level can be few and far between.

Chelsea pride themselves on having one of the best and most productive academies in the world.

They are an excellent example of the stepping stone it can provide for players to progress towards the first team. From their three finals appearances, the list of names who have gone on to play at the top level is lengthy.

In their 2014-15 winning campaign, Andreas Christensen,Ruben Loftus-CheekandDominic Solankeall started in the final. Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham were substitutes but started a year later, when Chelsea won it again withTrevoh ChalobahandMason Mounton the bench.

In their two recent trips to the final in 2018 and 2019, which ended in defeats,Marc GuehiReece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi,Tariq LampteyConor GallagherandBilly Gilmourall featured in at least one.

Others are forging good careers at lower levels. Solanke finished top scorer in 2015 with 12 goals. Fellow Chelsea academy star Charlie Brown scored the same number in 2019. One is plying their trade in thePremier LeagueforBournemouth, while the other has moved on and is playing for Cheltenham Town in League One.

In an interview with GOAL this year, former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain defender Maxwell Scherrer, UEFAs chief of football development, expressed his belief it was the highest level of competition and a perfect platform for development.

He cited Mount and Christensen as two players who have won the UEFA Youth League and gone on to win the Champions League. Getafes Munir El Haddadi won the competition with Barcelona as a youngster and then the Europa League with Sevilla.

We see 800 or so players go from there to Champions League, Europa League and Conference League. Theres a huge impact on the development of those youth players, Scherrer said.

Liverpool will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Chelsea in years to come and the convincing win over Napoli showcased the exciting talent being nurtured at the club.

Ben Doak, the 16-year-old winger signed fromCelticthis year, was on target and the star of the show. Irish winger Trent Kone-Doherty, 16, netted twice, whileBobby Clark, Lewis Koumas and Melkamu Frauendorf all impressed.

Left-backLuke Chambersalso shone, registering a goal and an assist. He was one of the few academy players chosen to go on Liverpools pre-season tour this summer. The potential and talent throughout the side is frightening.

The Youth League play-off draw takes place next week, but for Liverpool and Manchester City, they will be waiting until February, like their senior teams, for the competition to start again.

(Main image: Doak celebrates scoring for Liverpool. Photo: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

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Andrew Jones is a Staff Writer for The Athletic covering Burnley FC and Liverpool FC. Having graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a First Class Honours Degree in Sports Journalism, Andrew has had written work published for the Liverpool Echo, Chelsea FC and Preston North End.Follow Andy on Twitter@adjones_journo