Mixing with lower divisions is football’s school of hard knocks | Liam Rosenior

Instead of seeing the negatives of the inclusion of top-tier under-23 teams in the Checkatrade Trophy we should embrace it in the knowledge that the next generation of players are gaining invaluable experience

I witnessed something special this week. Pressure on, players so nervous before a game they could hardly speak knowing their individual and collective performances would be analysed, studied and scrutinised by the people who have the power to determine their careers. These 90-odd minutes would be a significant indicator as to which way the team were heading and whether they had the ability to play at the highest level.

You might think I’m describing the atmosphere before one of the key World Cup qualifiers being played this week but I’m not. I’m talking about the numerous games being played up and down the country in front of small crowds – usually to a maximum of 2,000 fans.

Continue reading…

Instead of seeing the negatives of the inclusion of top-tier under-23 teams in the Checkatrade Trophy we should embrace it in the knowledge that the next generation of players are gaining invaluable experienceI witnessed something special this week. Pressure on, players so nervous before a game they could hardly speak knowing their individual and collective performances would be analysed, studied and scrutinised by the people who have the power to determine their careers. These 90-odd minutes would be a significant indicator as to which way the team were heading and whether they had the ability to play at the highest level.You might think I’m describing the atmosphere before one of the key World Cup qualifiers being played this week but I’m not. I’m talking about the numerous games being played up and down the country in front of small crowds – usually to a maximum of 2,000 fans. Continue reading…

https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/oct/05/checkatrade-trophy-football-under-23-teams

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