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Oct 12, 2012

Davids: English game must focus on youth

Barnet's new joint head coach Edgar Davids has said the English game must invest more in youth if it is to progress.

The League Two club's appointment of Davids, announced on Thursday, has created a stir - and the Dutchman pulled no punches when he said he was "not a fan" of the England team.

The 39-year-old will work with head coach Mark Stimson at Underhill, and said Barnet's new state of the art training facilities would help bring more good young players into the professional ranks.

"When I look at the English team and I see them play, I'm not a great fan," he explained. "I know they have talent, but it's not developing right now. It needs a lot of work.

"I played for Barcelona and for Ajax, where it's important to develop and integrate young talent. In this country, they need to think about that. Invest in youth.

"I played street soccer, that's where I started. If you look at South America, that's why they have technical players. I am trying to help English football be more diverse.''

Davids said he was looking forward to the challenge of beginning his managerial career in the fourth tier of the English game.

The ex-Tottenham midfielder said he had worked with Sunday league team Brixton United and played street football to keep fit since leaving Championship Crystal Palace two seasons ago.

"There are a lot of coaches that started low,'' he added. "We will see if I have the capability of reaching the highest level.

"Do I want that? I saw [Pep] Guardiola and [Frank] Rijkaard when they started, and saw them age with grey hair. I'm too good looking for that, so want to stay here.''

The scale of the challenge facing Davids - whose other clubs include Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan - is clear, with Barnet nailed to the foot of the table and without a league win all season.

But he insisted: "I believe Mark and I can pull it off. We will have some fights, but the bottom line is to fight to get results.

"I saw it [League Two football] is quite physical, but I'm not going to under-appreciate it or undervalue it. I have respect for every level of football."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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