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TC frustrated by talent squeeze

Filed: Friday, 13th November 2009
By: Staff Writer

Tony Carr has admitted that the Academy are finding it even more difficult to recruit local youngsters as a result of recent changes to the rules governing club recruitment.

Clubs are now only allowed to sign footballers up to the age of 12 who live within an hour's travelling time from the club's headquarters - something, which Carr readily admits, is proving to be a major problem.

"It is becoming more difficult to recruit young local talent," Carr told the Evening Standard. "Young players between the ages of nine and 12 have to live within an hour's travelling time of their club's training ground and 90 minutes between the ages of 13-16.

"At the moment, we can sign players from other countries during that time. I know, though, that there are moves to ban all international transfers under the age of 18.

"I understand why the rules were introduced, to avoid youngsters travelling long distances to and from training and to prevent disruption to their schooling, but the regulations should be relaxed. As it is, we could never develop another Michael Carrick or Manchester United another David Beckham.

"Clubs like ours should be able to scout other parts of the country. If a young player in Birmingham, for example, wanted to come to us and we fulfilled strict criteria about education and home life, then I believe he should be allowed to move. There is a feeling among some Premier League clubs that the present rules are effectively a restraint of trade."

Despite the issues faced by the current rules Carr - ably assisted by right-hand man Jimmy Hampson - has continued to provide a steady stream of home-grown talent for the first team.

Already this season, striker Zavon Hines has begun to stake a claim for a regular first team spot whilst 16-year-old England international Robert Hall continues to earn plaudits. James Tomkins, Mark Noble and Jack Collison have already made the grade and are considered essential members of Gianfranco Zola's first team squad.

However a recent shift in policy has seen the introduction of a number of non-British youngsters to at the club - players such as Ahmed Abdulla (Saudi Arabia), Filip Modelski (Poland), Sergio Sanchez (Spain), Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson (Iceland), Eoin Wearan (Ireland) and Georg Grasser (Austria), all of whom have joined West Ham in the last 18 months.

* Carr's Academy side have been drawn away to Plymouth in the second round of the FA Youth Cup. The tie will take place in early December (details to be confirmed).

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by Robin
07:26PM 13th Nov 2009
''About time some thing is done. Chelsea are all over Essex at the moment after poaching staff from West Ham, my kids are always bringing stuff home from Chelski after school clubs, school holiday camps, even the local school competition was run by Chelski!

They need putting in their place and I totally agree with Mr Carr.''

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