Evans welcomes League’s push to give young home-grown talent a chance

Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans with assistant Paul Raynor behind
Picture by Dan Westwell
Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans with assistant Paul Raynor behind Picture by Dan Westwell

Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans has welcomed the Football League’s new push to force clubs to give home-grown talent a chance, though doesn’t think their proposals go far enough.

From season 2017/18, all 72 EFL clubs must increase the number of home-grown players on team sheets from six to seven.

Even more importantly, the clubs have also agreed to introduce a requirement for at least one club developed player to be named on each team sheet for any EFL League game from the start of the 2018/19 season.

A ‘club-developed’ player refers to a footballer who has been registered to that club for a minimum of 12 months prior to the end of his U19 season.

This differs from a ‘home-grown’ player, which simply refers to a player that had been at any club affiliated with the FA or FAW for at least three years prior to their 21st birthday.

“I welcome it,” said Evans. “I think it should have been here years ago. I don’t think one is going far enough to be honest.

“I think if you’re going to invest the amount of money like the owners do here and owners do all around the country, on top of some terrific backing from the Premier League and the Football League, and you want to get youngsters involved, then put it on the managers that you have to pick two or three.

“I don’t think they have gone far enough but it’s a step in the right direction.”

Evans said he already had youngsters he wanted to see in his first team but now wasn’t the time to pitch them in with the pressure of chasing a play-off place.

However, should Stags miss out with games still to go this season, Evans said he would blood them.

“We have some good talented youngsters,” he said. “You want to bleed these youngsters when you’re in a pre-season programme when you can find out if they are good enough technically and physically to go and play with your players.

“I am a 100 per cent believer that if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.

“But at this stage of the season experience plays a part – a big part with the bigger crowds and the bigger expectations going. That’s not only the players but the officials as well, and as we can see in recent weeks some buckle.

“There are two or three I’m looking forward to seeing play for the first team. They will play for the first team. It will be about timing.

“If someone was saying to me the scenario was we couldn’t get into the play-offs, would they figure? Yes they would.”