Burnley boss Sean Dyche backs return to reserve team football amid Pep Guardiola's call for B teams in the EFL

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola last month reiterated his call for Premier League Under 23 sides to be allowed to play in the Football League.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 10:27 am
Updated Thursday, 14th October 2021, 10:28 am
Pep Guardiola gives instructions to Manchester City defender Finley Burns against Wycombe

He feels it would be “the best ever for English football” for academy players to go up against sides in the Championship or League 1 every week.

And although introducing “B” teams to the EFL is “non-negotiable”, according to chair Rick Parry, Sean Dyche believes there are changes that could be made to the current academy set up, maybe to reintroduce reserve team football.

Guardiola said after beating Wycombe in the Carabao Cup: “If every week they could play against Wycombe, that would be the best development for these players – not just training with us.

“That will be the best ever for English football.

“Not playing against 17, 18 or 19-year-olds where they win 4-0, 5-0, 6-0 or 7-0 every single day.

“We cannot educate them, that is not good for them.”

Dyche understands where Guardiola is coming from: “It’s a strange situation, we talk about it as a staff, they took away the old school reserves many moons ago, but the things you learned from those games...

“Me, Woany and Steve Stone were all there, I remember Brian Clough made the reserves parade the trophy around the ground when they won the league, because his opinion was, if your second string are winning leagues, that means your first team must be pretty handy, and he wasn’t wrong.

“We understand why they changed the model, to teach kids more technically and tactically, but I think it needs to some way come back to the mix, because you can learn so much from the players in and around you.

“When the foreign managers started to come in, the reserve system started to lose its edge because not a lot of the players would play in those games, it was mainly younger players, so they made it a younger league.

“Now they are addressing it, in that you can play four older players, but some way down the line – I get what Pep is saying – it might go to a competitive version of it.

“And the old Central League was competitive, believe me.

“There’d be 2,3,000 there for a reserve game at the City Ground, and you’d go away to Liverpool with similar, and there was a very competitive edge.

“Pep might be suggesting a version of that, or that mixture of real competitive football for these highly-talented young players so they can feel the truth of it.

“It’s a whole different thing playing Under 23 football, to league football.

“They are getting loads of good stuff, amazing stuff, facilities, welfare, support, psychology, but sometimes there needs to be a bit more reality, self-learning, coach leaves them alone, stew on things, good or bad.

“I think there can still be a bit more balance to it.”