Koeman hits out at English managers, Saints over youngsters

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Ronald Koeman has hit out at other managers who do not give young players a chance to play in the Premier League.

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The Everton manager was criticized during his time at Southampton for not bringing through more young players but since he’s been at Everton he’s made the likes of Tom Davies, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Mason Holgate, Matthew Pennington and Ademola Lookman regulars in his first team.

Ahead of the Toffees clash at West Ham on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) Koeman revealed how his approach differs from that of other coaches in England.

“I see differences in how I like to give young players a chance maybe more than the English managers. They are afraid. I am not afraid to put young players in,” Koeman said. “I know in English football people say you have to look out for young players, that maybe they say they can play 15 or 20 games, not more. But I am not afraid – maybe they are.

“It is all about the talents of the young players. If they have the ­talent you have to give an opportunity. If they don’t have the talent then you have to look ­elsewhere. If I have a second center back and he is 20 and I think he can do the job, then I don’t sign a center back as a third option. My young boy is my second option. It’s the way I like to work.

“I am a ­manager who is giving young players a chance when they deserve it. I am not doubting whether to give a young player a chance instead of an older player. But that was in ­Holland, Spain and Southampton and also in Everton.”

Koeman went on to defend himself about not using youngsters at his former club Southampton and was particularly harsh about the quality of the latest batch of young players coming through at St Mary’s.

“In Southampton they can look at how many players made their debuts in the first team of Southampton when I was the manager – seven, eight, nine?” Koeman said. “But why they don’t play for the first team more regularly? Because they weren’t good enough. Now this season they played in Europe when the manager was using a lot of players to have rotation. Now they don’t play in Europe they don’t play every weekend. Tell me which young player is now in the first team? Nobody. That is criticism but, OK, no problem.”

The legendary Dutchman tells it how it is and his philosophy of playing youngsters has been consistent throughout his coaching career in Portugal, Spain, Holland and England. At Everton he has lambasted the likes of Ross Barkley publicly but seems to be getting results from the talented youngster and he seems to have a knack of getting the best out of young talent in general.

That said, Koeman could’ve been a little more tactful when making this point.