Sheffield Wednesday: Gray joins B team debate

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Stuart Gray has joined the debate on the best way to produce better home grown talent as Football League clubs get set to reject proposals for a B team league within the English pyramid.

The Owls boss believes something must be done to get the best out of British young players but admits he is unconvinced by recent developments.

Representatives from the 72 Football League clubs have met in Portugal this week and were expected to reject the B team proposal made by the FA’s England Commission.

The Commission put forward plans for a new tier between League Two and the Conference which would include B teams from Premier League clubs.

Gray remains unsure about the B team proposal and the current U21 Development league system which replaced reserve team football.

“Something has to be done,” Gray said.

“I personally don’t think the U21 League is the answer. I know you can play three over-aged players but the problem is most of the lads have played against each other since their mid-teens.

“I think the average age of the U21 teams is 18.

“This B team idea is the more the equivalent of when I played and you had the first team and the reserves I think.

“I personally think there could be something done with one of the cup competitions where you have to play an all-British team.

“I’m always trying to think of how we can give opportunities to British talent.”

The B team proposal from the England Commission – set up by FA chairman Greg Dyke – was met with widespread dissapproval when announced last week.

Though set to reject the plans, the Football League clubs have been tipped to present a counterproposal that would see an expansion of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy to include a number of B teams from Premier League club.

The format would see the competition begin with a group stage seeing 16 Premier League B teams joining the 48 League One and Two clubs in 16 groups of four.

Group winners would then qualify for a straight knock out.