Former AC Milan and Italy coach Arrigo Sacchi believes the number of foreign players in Serie A is limiting the opportunities available to young Italian players.
The coach caused controversy in 2015 by claiming there were too many black players in youth football, although he now claims that the majority of the factors limiting youth development are structural.
“Our problem is that we are behind in terms of organisation,” said Sacchi to Giovanissimicampioni.it.
“Our schools teach a form of football which isn’t suited to players young enough to be playing at an Under-15 level, it’s too defensive.
“Few clubs bother to have an organisation and the others are too indebted to invest time and money into young players.
“Another problem is that training methods are outdated. The exceptions are in Italy’s national youth teams as the FIGC’s system is very good and the results are obvious to everyone.”
The 69-year-old then compared the situation in Italy to that with reigning World Champions Germany and Switzerland.
“In Switzerland the boys train for 200 days a year with the national setup” Sacchi went on.
“I once went to an Under-16 game where they were massacring us.
“In Germany in 2000 they noticed their football was drifting away so they forced academies to aid the development of young players.
“They opened 14 centres across the country to aid the project which is unthinkable here.
“It was all made possible thanks the club’s willingness to cooperate and we’re very behind in this respect.”
The former Parma coach also expressed a belief that the number of foreigners in Serie A could be holding the Azzurri back.
“I believe that our national team is led by a great coach and made up of a very good group of players,” added Sacchi.
“However, it’s obvious that there are more foreigners in our league than others.
“In Serie A 53 per cent of the players are foreign while it’s 15 or 20 per cent elsewhere.
“I agree with having foreign players in the league but they should at least be strong.
“There are too many average players who keep young Italians out of their sides.
“We need to know how to give youth a chance, only like that will the national team continue to be competitive.”