"There are all sort of issues to resolve to make it as good as possible. We have to comply and make observations as we go along."

- Brian McClair,

Summary of Under-21 changes

15/08/2012 11:02, Report by Adam Marshall
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McClair handles changes

players - that's paramount.

"We will resolve those things as we go along but if we feel it's best for players to stay here, it's not because of the games programme but because we think it's most beneficial to them. The overall picture is not just playing in these games but involves various other experiences for them. If the manager feels it's the right time for them to go out on loan, they will go out. We may well find next year's statistics show you the Reserves team is even younger than it was over the last couple of years but, again, we'll have to look at that.

"One of the things that is frustrating and difficult to understand is playing at 11am at Stoke's training ground, which doesn't seem any kind of progression to me. One of the points we like about it is it's different for the Reserves - usually a night-time game and they may have to wear the club blazer, plus there might be a crowd there at the stadium. Hopefully, that can continue. They're always talking about bridging the gap between the second-team and first-team squad but I can't see any benefit at all."

There have also been rumours that some clubs could look to organise fixtures behind closed doors, but McClair feels this would be a backwards step for the Under-21s.

"For me, that's nonsense," he insisted. "I mean 'Why?' The rules now say you can watch, as long as you follow protocol, any Academy game so why would you not be allowed to watch the Under-21s?

"If that's the rule, you can't have closed-door games. If you talk about the Academy ideally including the second-team now in terms of the rules, they say the Academy have to allow other clubs to come and watch these games and follow them. That's another thing people won't really comprehend until they're suddenly getting lots of requests to come and watch games."

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