Date:Monday August 6 2012
The Premier League reserves set-up has been drastically changed for this season.
The reserves leagues were quite frankly a waste of time in previous years, a mix of first team players making appearances in a bid to return to fitness following injury and players attempting to make the breakthrough into the first team, either from youth set-ups, development squads or fringe players.
That kind of set-up meant that games were often unbalanced and uncompetitive, leaving the benefits to be limited.
On Vital Everton we've often called for more players to head out on loan to Football League clubs and we certainly have done this a lot better in recent years, with many youngsters gaining from competitive football, playing for the shirt and points on a regular basis.
It's certainly the best way for younger players to develop and will continue to be, but the new Barclays Under-21 Premier League will also help to bridge the gap between youth football and the first team.
Made up from 16 Premier League and 6 Championship clubs, the new campaign kicks off this month.
Similar to the Olympic set-up, each match day squad is permitted to have three outfield overage players in the squad, whilst an overage goalkeeper is also permitted. Putting an emphasis on the younger players, but also still giving injured players games to regain fitness.
The season will be split up into a regional group stage, a second group stage dependent on the results from the first stage and then on to knock-out rounds similar to the play-off systems to determine the champions.
The changes get the nod of approval from Everton reserve-team boss Alan Stubbs: "Something had to happen, I think it will be good in the long run. There might be a few problems early on because it`s a new format but I think it`s a step in the right direction.' he told evertonfc.com.
He added: "It`s something that needed to be done because we needed a stronger reserve team league with more of a senior quality.
"Sometimes players can get lost from being in the first-team squad and travelling with them then not playing reserve-team football. Then, before you know it, they only train once or twice a week because of the travelling and resting. It`s positive but we will have to wait and see how it does and how it benefits us as a Club."
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Date:Monday August 6 2012
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