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Saints' youth policy puts Toon to shame
SAINTS have won widespread praise from all quarters this season for their desire to promote young English talent this season.
Tomorrow they come up against a club who have been the polar opposite to them.
Ex-Saint Alan Pardew this week celebrates three years in charge of Newcastle United.
In that time he has become the Premier League’s second longest serving manager, behind Arsene Wenger.
On taking over, Pardew said: “I intend to focus on developing exciting young players through the club’s excellent Academy and development squad.”
Though we cannot doubt his words, his actions have spoken louder than his stated ambition of promoting young home-grown talent.
Amazingly, Pardew has only fielded three English-born players in league or cup action this season – and all three are in their thirties.
Can that be of any help to Roy Hodgson and the national team? Of course not.
One of those three is former Saints academy defender Mike Williamson, the only Englishman who started last weekend’s historic win at Old Trafford.
Another is ex-Everton defender Dan Gosling, who is now on loan at Blackpool after managing just two League Cup outings for the Toon in 2013/14.
The third is defender Steven Taylor, who has not appeared since the opening day of the season, when he was sent off in a 4-0 loss at Manchester City.
Pardew has handed young Welsh full back Paul Dummett three Premier League appearances, but by and large has placed his faith in overseas talent.
Remarkably, Pardew has 12 French players in his first team squad while a 13th – Mehdi Abeid – is on loan at Panathinaikos.
Six of the French contingent – Lioc Remy, Davide Santon, Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran, Yohan Cabeye and Mathieu Debuchy – started at Old Trafford.
Pardew also fielded two Dutchmen, keeper Tim Kruhl and Vernon Anita, one Argentinian (Fabricio Coloccini) and an Ivorian (Cheick Tiote).
Two of his three used subs were also French – Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Hatem Ben Arfa.
The other was Nigerian-born 32-year-old striker Shola Ameobi.
Two more – Rickie Lambert and Harrison Reed – came off the bench.
Clubs are free to pick and choose who they want, but hopefully more will want to copy Saints’ template than Newcastle’s.
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