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By ESPN Staff

Hoddle: Championship can breed England starlets

Former England manager Glenn Hoddle believes there must be radical reforms in the League Championship in order to benefit the English game.

Hull City and Bristol City compete for the so-called 'richest prize in football' in the play-off final at Wembley later today.

But Hoddle wants to see the second tier of domestic football split into two halves and fixtures drastically reduced, giving players - especially young ones - time and opportunity to develop their skills and ultimately produce more high-quality candidates for the national squad.

Hoddle, who has launched a scheme via his soccer academy based in southern Spain to give young professionals a potential route back into the game after being discarded by their clubs, thinks the Championship could be an ideal breeding ground to put English football back on top.

'The Championship is where we might have to look very seriously to bring on young English players,' he said.

'But the way we are playing to get out of it sometimes is a million miles away from international standards.

'My view is that we have to split that league in two because 46 games a season is far too many.

'It's got to be split into two lots of 18 and that way gives you time to let players practise the skills they naturally have to be given a chance at that level.

'The increase in foreign players has made the Premier League better, without a doubt, but it's not done much for the development of the English national team.

'It is definitely much more difficult for English youngsters to come through.

'I've no problem with the top overseas players coming here but I always worried about the average foreign players coming in on Bosman transfers and blocking the way lower down.

'We find it hard in this country to develop young players. They are either playing match after match, preparing for a match or warming down from a match.

'We need time to give them for practice, to be able to play fewer games even at a high level and I think the Championship would be good vehicle for that.'

Hoddle and his coaching team, which includes former Chelsea heroes Graham Rix and Nigel Spackman and ex-Wimbledon goalkeeper Hans Segers, are holding trials at Chelsea's training ground over the Bank Holiday weekend for 60 hand-picked teenagers who have been released by their Premier League and Championship clubs.

Thirty survivors will be awarded a year's scholarship at Hoddle's football academy in the Spanish resort of Monticastillo near Jerez and, in conjunction with Leeds Metropolitan University, given an intense course in soccer skills and general education.

'It is a five-year project and within that time I am confident we'll not only come out with people ready to return to the game at a high level but also some real diamonds, some really top players,' he added.

'There is still a lot of talent around but clubs have to discard potentially good players far too young, mainly because of late physical development.

'This way they get more time and it is something I really want to see through.'

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