Young English players released by their clubs are being given a second chance to make it in the world of football – in Spain.
Spanish side Racing Portuense’s academy manager, John Gontier, is keen on bringing English players overseas in an attempt to mix the two footballing cultures to create much better footballers.
The former Watford Youth player, who made appearances with John Barnes and Kenny Jackett, explained to The Youth Radar the benefits of playing abroad. “It’s a new playing style, based mainly on ball possession. Learning a new language and culture and learning to adapt to this big change is very good for their future which football has strangled due to the hours taken from their studies,”
The project began in August 2010 but only initially lasted three weeks. The money comes out of John’s own pocket, therefore investment was needed to allow it’s continuation.
LFE (League Football Education) came to the rescue and payed a visit to the training facilities over in Spain. They were so impressed that they have since helped Racing Portuense establish itself as a placement club by paying most of the costs towards sending players abroad and helping to raise the profile of this project.
Tom Corner and Conor Grogan have already made their names as potential success stories of the project. Since joining Racing Portuense they have been scouted and gone on trial with Spanish giants, Real Valladolid.
John has said ” Every one concerned said they were great lads. Disciplined, punctual, trained well and fast learners of Spanish football culture and language,”
John described this as being “a wonderful experience for them,” and believes the future of the project depends on “how many English teams are willing to bet on these young players of only 18-19,”
Six new players are on their way to western Europe later this week. Three of these players will be for Racing Portuense whilst another three will join Xerez CD.
This project has very high hopes and with support can achieve making the shattered dreams of young heartbroken footballers come true once again.
John is currently looking to create a partnership with English League One or League Two sides in order to take on the players after their development period in Spain, this will only enhance the reputation of English academies and can hopefully improve the standard of football in our lower leagues.
He is also searching for a long-term sponsor for the project. If you would have any interest in sponsoring or donating to the project, please get in touch with The Youth Radar via the contact page and we will be more than happy to direct you to John immediately.