Roddy: England's investment in youth is 'finally paying off'
Written by Simon Austin — October 19, 2019
GED RODDY, the architect of the EPPP system, says new figures showing an increase in playing time for English Under-21s in the Premier League prove “long-term investment in youth is finally paying off”.
The stats, compiled by the CIES Football Observatory and commissioned by BBC Sport, show that domestic U21s have made up 5.01% of playing time in the English top flight in 2019/20 - the highest level for 12 seasons.
Roddy introduced the EPPP (Elite Player Performance Plan) in 2012, when he was Director of Youth for the Premier League. The intention was to produce “more and better homegrown players”.
“Encouraging data that the long-term investment in youth is finally paying off,” Roddy, who has been Academy Manager at Reading since February 2018, told TGG.
“A trebling of the coaching workforce, doubling the contact time with players, robust continual assessment via audit backed by massive investment from clubs and the Premier League.
“English youth coaching is also in the ascendancy as a result of long-term commitment to training and development from the Football Association. Eight years after the launch of EPPP, it is difficult to ignore the sheer quality of home grown players coming through - but there remains urgent need for further innovation if English football is to stay ahead of the curve.”
When the Premier League announced Roddy's departure after eight years in September 2017, they praised him for "having completely transformed youth development and coaching provision within English professional football since his arrival" and added “most recently Ged's role in securing the employment of Heads of Coaching across the majority of professional clubs and developing a new integrated coaching strategy with our partners at the EFL, FA, LMA and PFA leaves the game ideally positioned to produce an ever increasing number of better home-grown players and coaches."