Young England stars received more game time in the Dutch Eredivisie last season than they did in the Checkatrade Trophy.
When the EFL Trophy was re-launched in 2016/17 as the Checkatrade Trophy it was hailed by EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey as a chance to “assist the development of the very best young players in English football.”
However, only nine players from the England Under-20 and Under-21 squads which have been so successful this summer played in the much-criticised competition last season.
Those nine players racked up just 1,008 minutes of game time between them, which works out at an average of just 112 minutes each.
That’s less game time than players from the two Young Lions squads played in the Europa League (1,013 minutes), the Scottish Premiership (1,260 minutes) and the Eredivisie (2,907 minutes).
All that Eredivisie game time was, to be fair, given to just one player – Chelsea’s Lewis Baker – who spent the season on loan at Vitesse Arnhem.
The Championship was by far the most important competition in terms of game time for the young England stars in 2016/17.
A total of 14 players racked up an impressive 23,022 minutes on the pitch in England’s second tier in 2016/17, far more than in any other competition.
That works out at an average of 1,644 minutes per player which is the equivalent of 18 full 90 minute matches.
The Premier League gave out the next highest number of minutes, 19,089 by 22 players, followed by the Premier League 2 (17,883 minutes by 32 players) and League One (6,812 minutes by six players).
In terms of the sheer number of players given a game then the EFL Cup and the FA Cup were two of the most important competitions for Young Lions players.
A total of 33 players from the Under-20 and Under-21 squads at this summer’s tournaments played in the 2016/17 FA Cup. Those players were on the pitch for a total of 4,732 minutes between them.
The EFL Cup saw 31 different players from the two squads feature in the competition last season racking up a total of 4,753 minutes between them.
Competition: Minutes (players)
- Championship: 23,022 (14)
- Premier League: 19,089 (22)
- Premier League 2: 17,883 (32)
- League One: 6,812 (6)
- EFL Cup: 4,753 (31)
- FA Cup: 4,732 (33)
- Eredivisie: 2,907 (1)
- U18 Premier League: 1,429 (1)
- Premiership: 1,260 (1)
- Europa League: 1,013 (5)
- EFL Trophy: 1,008 (9)
- League Two: 630 (1)
- UEFA Youth League: 540 (1)
- KNVB Beker: 523 (1)
- Champions League: 387 (6)
- FA Youth Cup: 270 (1)
- Championship Playoffs: 249 (1)
- U18 PL – Final Stage: 134 (1)
- SFA Cup: 90 (1)
- Community Shield: 44 (1)
- Champions League Qualification: 0 (1)