Fleetwood Town look to Premier League youth

Graham Alexander
Graham Alexander
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Fleetwood Town could turn to the Premier League’s young stars in their search for talent this summer.

Boss Graham Alexander could be set to offer young players the chance to play first team football – Town’s League One status and impressive new multi-million pound training complex a major selling point.

The Premier League has faced criticism over the way rising stars find their path to first-team football blocked by foreign players.

And Town, who last week revealed plans to operate on a reduced wage budget, could be set to tap into their frustrations as they search for players to fit their new model.

“We’ve got a profile of a player but not a hunting ground, “ said Alexander

“We’re looking in non-league, in the Premier League and at under-21 level.

“There’s been massive debate nationally about these players’ routes to the first team being blocked because of the recruitment of lots of foreign players at that level.

“I can understand why clubs do that because success has to be instant in the Premier League.

“But we’re looking at those players whose routes are blocked, players who we might be able to pick up or encourage.

“They’ll find a route to the first team quicker at our club than they would staying where they are.”

Alexander pointed to the success of long-term loan players who have already been through the door at Highbury as an example of what can be achieved.

He is particularly proud of Charlie Taylor, who arrived at Fleetwood having struggled to break through at Leeds United.

Taylor returned to Elland Road following Town’s Wembley play-off final and has become an almost ever-present in the Championship.

Alexander said: “I think we can pick up some very good players this way.

“Look at the like of Charlie Taylor, Josh Morris.

“They came at us from clubs at a level above but found immediate first-team football.

“Their careers have definitely gone from strength to strength.

“Charlie is playing week in, week out at Leeds. Josh will go on to good things as well.

“Ideally, we’d like to bring people in as our players so they connect with us as a club, which Charlie and Josh did because of the time they were here.”

Town will not limit their talent hunt to the Premier League. Alexander and his scouting team, led by former Burnley defender Steve Davis, have unearthed a number of talented teenagers from non-league.

And the Fleetwood boss made it clear that strategy will continue. He said: “We’re looking at clubs around ourselves, at the Conference, below that as well.

“It’s proved a good hunting ground for us, with people like Nick Haughton and Ash Hunter.

“Antoni Sarcevic came from Chester and look how he’s established himself.

“We’ve put in place a widespread scouting system, trying to find the best young players and trying to make sure they come to us.”