things happen. The youth team were involved in the Youth Cup, the manager wanted some players to stay back and there were injuries and loans. It means we could hardly scrape a team together. I think we would enter it again. The problem is the travelling. I went to Brazil with the younger kids and we travelled 25 hours through flying and played the following day. All those teams with those sort of journeys lost their first game and we lost 1-0. I think if you lose the first game, it’s really hard and you’re struggling for the rest of the tournament. So the problem is travelling.
The Amsterdam AEGON Future Cup was a shorter trip and must've been worthwhile..
Paul McGuinness told me it was a good tournament for them but, again, they were stretched a bit thin and he took a couple of trialists. If you plan for all this, you wouldn’t go to any tournaments so I’m glad we went to them. We know what the groups will be next year, it just depends what invitations we get. Tournament play is good and we don’t do it enough in England. We just have to rise above problems that come up and do the best we can. I’ve been to tournaments with absolutely excellent teams when everything is right and still lost. I took the Scholes and Beckham team to a tournament in Switzerland and we lost in the final to Barcelona when I really thought we were going to win it with all the good players we had.
Are there no plans to enter the Next Gen Series?
I think the thing about that is we like to have more control over what games we play. We can do that by selecting tournaments. I’m not sure how good that’s turned out to be. I saw a couple of games and Liverpool lost heavily in them both.
Are our young players all maturing at different rates?
It’s an individual thing. We look at a boy and how he plays and what he does and how his physical development is. It tells you if he can play with boys who are older or you see if the boy has skills but not the physical development and just hold him back a year and see how he grows. Each one is an individual case. Michael Keane had very quick growth spurts and got to be very awkward and gangly but now looks bigger than Will. Tom Cleverley’s another one and we’ve had lots of boys in various degrees. Two good examples are in the Reserves now