Tuesday 17 September 2019

'I get slaughtered for it' - Damien Duff lays out what young players need to do to go from 'good to great'

Damien Duff
Damien Duff
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Former Ireland and Chelsea legend Damien Duff believes young players should be training seven days a week and 11 months of the year if they are to become elite level footballers.

Duff, who has been linked with a role in the Celtic backroom team in recent days, works with the Shamrock Rovers under-15 side and believes a 'dinosaur mentality' is holding young players back.

Speaking on RTE's Champions League coverage last night, Duff attributed the dearth of players making it at big clubs to young players not getting enough time on the ball in their formative years.

"What's always been my problem with kids and I think the kids have to take some responsibility too and coaches at the clubs. Kids don't touch a ball enough and that will never change," he said.

"I get slaughtered for it in this country for training my lads five times a week, training half six in the morning doing double sessions and your back at half six at night. I get slaughtered.

"That's dinosaur mentality. You have to train five times a week. We went to play Chelsea during the season, they train seven times a week. But most teams train twice or three times a week, so that's a problem already."

He spoke about a lack of games and a season that lasted from March to October.

"Six months of football. For me there should be another four months on top of that," he said. "They do not touch a ball enough, and that's an absolute fact.

"There's good players coming through but the difference between good and great players is 11 months a year, training seven days a week."

Didi Hamann backed up Duff's assertion that Irish kids are not getting exposed to enough football.

"Damien told me how often they play and train and I was flabbergasted," he said.

"The most crucial time is 6 to 15 that's when you mould players and the more you play there the more you bring your talent out and the better you will get."

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