Midfield man heads to London for league eventReading midfielder John Swift attended the launch of EFL Futures in London last week – an incentive scheme whereby the EFL will reward its member clubs who introduce young English players their starting line-ups.
As was announced earlier this season, a sum of £750,000 per season is being made available for the next three years to reward those clubs who provide starting opportunities in EFL fixtures for homegrown players under the age of 21 and who are eligible to play for England (or Wales for Cardiff and Newport).
And Royals man Swift, who helped England’s Under-21 side qualify for next season’s European Championships in Poland next summer, was a special guest for the launch!
The midfield playmaker has been a regular in Jaap Stam’s side this season since joining from Chelsea in the summer; he was voted as the fans’ Be Wiser Player of the Month for both August and September after making an instant impression.
EFL Futures was created to provide clubs with a direct cash boost to help them to develop more young players within the EFL, while also giving clubs the opportunity to reduce squad wage costs and increase the potential for transfer fee generation as fees are generally higher for young players who are sold with first team experience.
The campaign is central to the EFL’s ambition to create opportunities for young players and represents a collective commitment between clubs, representative bodies and commercial partners to improve opportunities for home grown players.
Speaking at the launch event in central London, the EFL’s Chief Executive Shaun Harvey was joined on stage by respected figures from the game, including recently appointed Charlton Athletic boss Karl Robinson, Gillingham’s Bryan Bull (Academy Manager, Schoolboy Development) and Walsall Chief Executive Stefan Gamble as well as Reading midfielder Swift.
Harvey said: “The EFL has a very strong and proud tradition of supporting the development of young English talent. However, we want to ensure that the EFL continues to have a positive impact on a future generation of English players and I strongly believe that EFL Futures can deliver much-needed long-term change.
“We believe the successful introduction of young English players will not only benefit the EFL as a competition and its 72 clubs, but also the wider game as a whole and we are determined to do what we can to help the nation fulfil its footballing potential. A high performing England national team is good for the game in this country and we are therefore committed to doing everything we can to help the national team develop.
“The EFL is once again leading the way in shaping this collective ambition in football, but this is just the beginning. We will now work tirelessly to secure further commercial support and work closely with clubs to maximise the options available.”