La Liga news

Mourinho questions Real's youth system

October 31, 2012
By Miguel Delaney, Spain Correspondent

Real Madrid first-team boss Jose Mourinho has blamed the club's youth system and Madrid Castilla coach Alberto Toril for not providing a useful reservoir of young talent to the senior side.

Nacho Fernandez Real Madrid
GettyImagesNacho Fernandez has been tipped for a bright future at Real Madrid

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Mourinho has himself been criticised in the local media recently for not giving youngsters from the B team a chance, especially for fielding midfielder Michael Essien at left-back and not giving Nacho Fernandez, 22, an opportunity with the first team when injuries ruled out the regular full-back options.

The Portuguese said after training on Tuesday at Madrid's Valdebebas facility that it was difficult to promote players when Toril's B team played a different formation to the senior side.

"We play with a different system, they have another model," Mourinho said. "There are Castilla players that play in positions that do not exist in the first team, like Jese (Rodriguez) who plays as a 'nine and a half'. Also, our wide players play further forward, and in Castilla they play a 4-4-2. There is limited common ground in terms of the style of play, and the kids are the ones who end up paying the price."

RM Castilla were promoted to Spain's Segunda Division last season under Toril, for the first time since 2007, and are currently 10th in the table with 15 points from their first 11 games. Mourinho questioned whether the focus at that level should be on winning games or on developing players ready to step into the first team.

"Toril knows everything that I have spoken to you about," he said. "He knows that with me Nacho will never be a centre-back, but he has his independence. He decides if it is more important to finish fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth in the Segunda, or to help a player to develop so he can come through to the first team."

Mourinho has rested six first-teamers - Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso, Iker Casillas, Pepe and Mesut Ozil - for Wednesday night's Copa del Rey last-32 first leg at third tier Alcoyano, but has called up just three new youngsters to his 17 man match-squad: midfielders Jose Rodriguez, 17, and Alex Fernandez, 20, and goalkeeper Ruben Yanez, 19.

The former Chelsea boss, who said the problems with Madrid's youth system not producing players for the first team went back more than a decade, said there was no point in promoting players who would never be good enough to make it at the top level.

"If a player of 23 or 24 years has not reached the level to be in Madrid's squad, he will not arrive at 26, 27 or 28," he said. "If he is younger, you are expecting that he will develop completely and can reach the team. Fabinho (19) is at the point of arriving or not. The same with Jose Rodriguez and Alex. They have potential and the age to end up as first team players."