Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew has expressed his concern about the Football Association’s plan to stop the publication of youth football scores.
The FA has advised local newspapers not to publish the results of Under-seven to Under-11 matches amid long-term concerns that an emphasis on winning has undermined English players’ technical development.
They wish to make youth football “more child centred and less results orientated”, but Pardew believes losing that competitive edge could prove damaging.
“If you ask me, our youth football isn’t competitive enough,” said Pardew, whose team host Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.
“Under-18s, Under-17s, Under-16s, Under-15s should be more competitive. It’s what the game’s all about, and you learn, hone your skills, if it’s more competitive, so I don’t agree with that policy, but they probably did it for the right reasons.
“Technically we’re not the best players, trust me, I’ve worked with the best players in the world, and they’re not all English, but what we do have is a spirit and a winning mentality, and it can make up for a lot of technical deficiencies. So I’d be careful to start edging around that.
“The problem with youth football is there’s always different views. There’s plenty of people at the FA that sit in little meetings and come up with certain ideas.
“I remember, if my team had done well, having a look in the paper if you’d won a medal or something, or if my primary school had done well, of course you do. What’s wrong with that? Where that harms children, I don’t get it.
“What you do want to do the English way of playing is to have players who have a fighting spirit in them, and a will to win.”
Pardew on Southampton test
Pardew remains without Bakary Sako, owing to a hamstring injury, while Dwight Gayle, having suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury, and Mile Jedinak, because of an ankle problem picked up this week, will also miss Saturday’s fixture.
The manager, who worked at Southampton before his sacking in August 2010, believes Ronald Koeman’s team are still suffering because of the “big blow” of Morgan Schneiderlin’s summer transfer to Manchester United, and has targeted victory in his pursuit of the Premier League’s top six.
“I do think they miss him,” Pardew said. “It’s not easy to replace someone as influential as Morgan. That they might be having a struggle with, but they are still a very good side.
“This has been a fantastic year for us, 2015. If we can match this year I will be really happy. If we match this year I think we can end up in the top six.
“Let’s cement ourselves in sixth. If we win, we are sixth. One hurdle at a time.
“We are a long way from European football. Let’s talk in March.”