Tuesday 21 November 2017

Agents and parents can ruin careers of young players - Mourinho

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is set to hand a debut to highly rated 18-year-old forward Izzy Brown
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is set to hand a debut to highly rated 18-year-old forward Izzy Brown

Matt Law

Jose Mourinho has claimed that agents and parents are a bigger threat to the development of exciting young footballers than big-money signings or foreign stars.

The Chelsea manager plans to blood another one of the club's highly rated young players by handing 18-year-old forward Izzy Brown a debut against West Bromwich Albion tonight .

Ruben Loftus-Cheek made his first Premier League start against Liverpool and the midfielder will get another chance against West Brom, while Nathan Ake could be involved.

Chelsea have failed to produce a home-grown player since captain John Terry but Mourinho insists that the club's transfer plans are not the biggest threat to their youngsters.

Mourinho instead worries about the influence of agents and parents on young players, although he did stress that he had not encountered any problems over Loftus-Cheek, Brown or Ake.

Asked what the biggest challenge was involving a teenage player, Mourinho replied: "In modern football, the agents and the parents. When the players are almost there and in the process of being almost there, the agents and parents think they are already there.

"They make the players think they have arrived when they haven't. They think about money before the career starts and everything gets very, very confused. That doesn't help the players. They need stability.

"It's not the case, but imagine Ruben's family or agent pushing the kid to go. The kid has to go on loan, imagine that picture. That's not what he needs. In this moment, he needs stability. He played against Liverpool. He's going to play against West Bromwich. Next season he starts with us and is stable because he's part of the squad."

Questions have been raised over whether the progression of youngsters such as Loftus-Cheek and Brown could be blocked off by big-money signings such as Paul Pogba.

Asked whether, in theory, he could buy a player such as Pogba without damaging the development of Loftus-Cheek, Mourinho replied: "Yes, I can. Maybe he's better than the player I buy. And if he is, he plays and the player I buy doesn't. But at the moment he's not better."

Mourinho also insists that his thirst for victory remains undiminished despite clinching the Premier League title.

"We all need to respect the game and play for the best result. We are going to try (for) the maximum possible points," said Mourinho, whose side play Sunderland in the final game of the season next Sunday.

"I'm happy that West Bromwich Albion is also champion of their league and they don't need points. So no pressure for us, no pressure for them.

"But for sure they want to win the last game at home and for sure we want to try the maximum points."

Chelsea entered the weekend's fixtures with an 11-point advantage which was yesterday reduced to eight by Manchester City's victory against Swansea and Mourinho is keen to reach the 90-point mark with maximum points from the final two games.

"To be champion is to be champion, one point more, one point less," he said. "But the reality the maximum points possible, the better. The more distance you have to the second, the better. And we are going to try."

West Brom boss Tony Pulis, meanwhile, has praised West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace ahead of what could be the owner's final game at the Hawthorns.

"He's a massive supporter of the club and he's a local lad. I've only been here five or six months but he's done a fantastic job," he said. "The infrastructure of this club and the financial place it's in is pretty remarkable.

"He's done a wonderful job and I don't think anybody can criticise him. If you look at the stadium, which is fantastic, the training facilities, which are first class, the training set-up and what he's done down at the ground, he's put all of that in place.

"He hasn't just thought about what's happening on the pitch and wasted money on players. He's invested in the infrastructure and he deserves a hell of a lot of credit, whether he stays or goes. He's run this club the way clubs should be run."

West Brom v Chelsea, live, Sky Sports 1, 8.0


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