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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Dec 4, 2013

Man United executive backs B team idea

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has said the club would welcome the idea of having a B team playing in the Football League.

Ed Woodward will replace David Gill as Manchester United CEO during the summer
Ed Woodward believes the youth system needs improvement.

Marcotti: B teams a bad idea

He argued that such a move would solve a lot of the problems surrounding the development of young players.

Woodward told the United We Stand fanzine he believed the youth system could be improved and advocated the club having links lower down the pyramid.

That idea has been floated by FA chairman Greg Dyke's commission, which is investigating ways to give homegrown players a better chance of competing at the top level.

The United executive said: "We need to have a look at it. We have strong views at Manchester United on the subject. If we could have a B team playing, it would solve a lot of issues. The reserves do deliver some of the objectives -- the system just isn't as good as it could be."

But the Football League has said it is against the B team idea, meaning bigger clubs forging working relationships with their lower-division counterparts could be a way forward.

Woodward said: "Barcelona and Real Madrid have a competitive advantage with their system [of B sides]. Ajax have got it. A team in the division below went bust a year ago. Ajax stepped in and now they are developing their players that way.

"You can look at different models and what Spurs have with Swindon. You can look at rotating players in the first team. There is no clear and obvious answer. If you buy a top 18-year-old, a [Cristiano] Ronaldo or a [Wayne] Rooney, they could go straight into the first team. Or they could go into the squad at number 25 or 26."

The Football League is believed to be against the idea of formal links between top-flight and lower-league clubs, arguing that the loan system allows younger players from bigger clubs to play competitive matches.

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