Benitez wants reserve team revamp

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Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez wants to field his reserve team in the Football League.

Benitez believes the current reserves set-up in football is not beneficial to the youngsters and wants changes.

He said: "I would like to see reserve teams of the big clubs like ourselves playing in the Football League. Why not if they have enough quality?

"Our young players may have the quality but not the experience for the first team. They are only on the bench."

He added: "That will bridge the gap between the youngsters and the first team.

"If you do not give young players the chance to play competitive football and to learn things, things become impossible."

Benitez managed the second string of Real Madrid in Spain where the B teams of the Bernabeu club and others are allowed to play in the lower echelons of the country's league football.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has also stated he would like to put a side out in the Football League.

"It is clear that the reserve system doesn't work, the reserve league is nothing," said Benitez.

"You can see youngsters playing just 18 games a season, that is nothing. Certainly not enough for the development of these players.

"It is something that we can improve in this country. Or if we do not change we will find other solutions, sending youngsters out on loan like I have done recently.

"I do not want to see reserve teams with four or five senior men playing without passion. These games are for young players."

He added: "I used to be the manager of Castilla, Real Madrid's reserve side, and I had players who were 18, 19 years old playing in the Spanish second division championship.

"They were playing against men. They were winning and we finished sixth and fourth. The question is, what improves the quality of the players?

"And I am not sure about them playing in League Two, either; they need really to be playing against good players, then they will learn more."

Former Liverpool striker Michael Robinson, who is now a presenter on Spanish television as well as a part-owner in lower league club Cadiz in the country, is against the idea.

In Spain, the B teams cannot be promoted and certain rules govern which players a side can use as a player named in the first-team squad of a major club cannot then play for the reserve team.

"I think it's an awful idea, and another one of the great evidences where the rich get rich and poor get poorer," he said.

"The fact that you can't go up and play in the same league as the first team creates all sorts of problems for the other teams.

"How can you play in a competition under fair circumstances where no matter how well Real Madrid do, they cannot go up? So that affects their way of thinking.

"Here in Spain you get circumstances whereby if big clubs want to take players from their second team or third teams, that means that particular team, when it plays in their respective leagues, become an easier opponent for the team they are playing."


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I understand where he is coming from, and the system has been used to some success in Spain (like Real Madrid have Castilla). I am not sure the League One clubs with be happy about it though.

The reserve leagues do need improving though, and he is just offering a suggestion. Eighteen games a year for youngsters is not a lot, and to be honest the class of opposition they play does not really help them improve as players.

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It's a good idea, but the league system in england is massive and has lots of clubs.

It's hard to say really if it will work. To me i think it will be stupid, you would end up having premiership class players in a lower league. Sure as a loan its' fair, but as a team no way. If you where to put a reserve team out, then you would have to lock in those players to that league.

If they swap between reserves and first squad, then it's sort of a transfer. Which then defeats the point of a reserve team because you use them when your low in your first team.

They might as well have friendly's so the reserve/youth go against a willing team from another league. These could be played during international breaks or long breaks.

We might as well stick to loans and feeder clubs.

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