EFL playing a key role in the development of young players

LAST month's EFL Youth Development Week highlighted the work being done by clubs outside the Premier League in providing opportunities for young players.

Just how significant that work has been was shown last summer when an England squad full of players who had made their debuts in the Football League made it all the way to the 2018 World Cup semi-final.

Then in October, Gareth Southgate's decision to select Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount in his Three Lions squad while playing on loan at Championship club Derby, highlighted just how key a pathway the second, third and fourth tier has become.

But when it come to player development the clubs outside the Premier League are doing much more than just offer short-term loan spots to Elite Academy kids.

This BBC article https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/47047420 offers a glimpse into the work Championship, League One and League Two clubs are doing in terms of promoting homegrown talent.

The philosophy of clubs in the lower tiers of the pro game were summed up by Lee Dykes, the sporting director of League Two Bury.

He told BBC Sport: "We can't compete financially at the top end of the academy structure, but where we lack there we make up for with the pathway to the first team and that is what we focus on."

The Football Innovation Summit on April 1 and 2 will provide a deeper insight into the processes clubs outside the Premier League employ and are developing for the future.

Stoke City Academy Director Gareth Jennings, West Brom Football Operation Manager Matthew Layton and Luton Town's Head of Academy Coaching Jordan McCann will be sharing their insights at the London summit.

The trio are due to speak about their experiences in unearthing talent, developing talent and providing first-team opportunities, with Gareth focusing of the pros and cons of the loan system, which enabled the likes of Harry Kane and Jesse Lingard to make their senior football debuts.