Why Pep wants EPL to have a second league

One Premier League is not enough, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wants two. The Spanish tactician is proposing for a second league to be created as he believes a “second league” would help young players to break into Premier League teams. His assertion comes after Brahim Diaz left the reigning Premier League champions for Real Madrid on Monday.

Diaz signed a six-and-a-half-year contract on Sunday having never started a Premier League match, with his deal was worth £15 million plus £6.5m in add-ons. The 19-year-old follows fellow teenager Jadon Sancho away from the Etihad Stadium, with the England forward making waves at Borussia Dortmund by starring in their brilliant first half of the Bundesliga season and earning himself England national team caps as a result.

Meanwhile, Guardiola has faced criticism for not handing enough opportunities to young players such as Sancho, Diaz and Phil Foden, who is also yet to be given a start in the Premier League. But Guardiola has offered a suggestion to improve the pathway for young players. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss believes it is necessary to revamp English football’s approach to youth development to develop a more effective pathway.

“Create a good second league,” Guardiola told reporters on Tuesday. “Create a good second team and you will see how many young players will be in the Premier League. Play against real teams. Against guys who are 24, 25, 26, 27 years old. Compete really every, every, every single weekend with real games. Fighting for survival or to be relegated, create that. And after, maybe the managers in the Premier League will have more courage to put them [in the team]. But they don’t, they play every weekend friendly games.”

City’s Under-21 side face Rochdale in the third round of EFL Trophy on Tuesday, with the competition allowing Premier League youngsters to face off against lower-league opposition in competitive action. But attendances have typically been low with supporters seemingly unconvinced by the rebranding of the tournament, which Guardiola does not believe is the answer to improve the pathway for youth talent.

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“No, make a league,” he added when asked about the EFL Trophy. “Where they don’t play in front of 10 people or 12 people here in the second team. They don’t compete really and that’s why sometimes it’s difficult to put them [in the team]… that’s why they train with us, sometimes they play in the cup, sometimes go on loan, to see how they develop in that position. And after they come back and at the end it is not about being generous or more kind, they have to show on the grass, on the pitch. I speak [about this] many times, on the pitch it speaks for itself.”

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