Assistant manager David Flitcroft thinks Barnsley get very little benefit from the Professional Development League and is considering withdrawing the under 21 side for next season.
Flitcroft has criticised the direct and rough tactics of the opposition, exemplified by the tackle by Coventry’s Kevin Malaga that injured Danny Rose’s ankle in Barnsley’s 3-2 win on Monday. He also believes the newly-formed league is geared towards clubs with bigger squads and resourses than Barnsley and that the numerous restrictions work against the Reds.
“I am not sure how we benefit from being in this league and, unless major changes are made, we will seriously consider pulling out for next season,” Flitcroft told the Chronicle.
“Everything is so loose and unclear. It is fluffy and furry, with no clear guidlines. It is supposed to be about developing players but we had no problem bringing through some good young players before the league was formed. It might be better if we went back to the old system of having a pool of local clubs like Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United who we played against regularly in behind closed doors games. That would be flexible and have none of the red tape and beaurocracy we have at the moment. The FA throw around words like ‘development’ and ‘elite performance plan’ but I don’t think this league develops elite players.”
The Reds have dominated possession in their games so far but struggled to pick up points until Monday. Flitcroft said: “Our boys have been outstanding and we are trying to get them to pass the ball and play what we believe is the right way to develop players. But all the other teams have played most of the game with ball in the air. How do you develop players like that? Maybe there should be a rule that the ball can’t go over head height.
“The game against Coventry on Monday was a travesty. They were almost playing rugby. I can’t see how any of those Coventry players will get anywhere near the England youth teams like John Stones has because they play a style of football that does not develop players.
"The tackle on Danny Rose was outrageous. It was as clear of a sending off as I have ever seen and it would have definitely been a red card in a real game. It could have broken his leg.”