Crewe Alexandra’s Assistant Academy Manager Neil Critchley has hailed the clubs recruitment policy and insists that results show it works.
Critchley, who himself came through the youth ranks at Alex himself before turning to coaching did however admit that it is getting more difficult for smaller clubs to recruit and keep hold of talented youngsters.
“Top clubs are very ruthless in their recruitment,” he said speaking to BBC Radio Stoke.
“Our line has always been that we get the trust of the parents and the players because of the way we treat them and the environment we provide.”
Crewe’s catchment area for players puts them in direct competition with several Premier League Clubs including Manchester Utd, Manchester City and Liverpool.
While some youngsters may be attracted to bigger clubs Critchley, is a firm believer that it is not always to their benefit as players.
Crewe handed out 12 professional contracts in the last month and four academy players – Nick Powell, Max Clayton, Ollie Turton and Casper Hughes – all made their Football League debuts for the Alex last season.
Critchley continued, “You don’t always get it (an opportunity) at the bigger clubs because it’s so hard to get in there.”
“Players that come here can see that if they’re good enough, they’re going to get an opportunity at this football club. I think it sends out a great message to everyone in the academy. This club is as good as any in the country at giving players an opportunity to start their careers in football.”