ECA Executive Board Member, Maarten Fontein, participated in a roundtable discussion entitled "What is the best system to create national team players?" at the International Football Arena in Zurich.
Alongside Ivan Bravo (Aspire Academy Qatar), Peter Knäbel (Swiss Football Association) and Ralf Rangnick (Red Bull Salzburg and RasenBallsport Leipzig), he discussed the recent trends in youth development at club level.
Maarten Fontein, who is also Chairman of the ECA Youth Working Group, took the opportunity to present to the conference attendees the recently published ECA Report on Youth Academies. The Report, which was launched at the ECA General Assembly in September, provides a comparable perspective that underlines the different approaches and philosophies of youth academies across the continent.
During his presentation, Maarten Fontein underlined that clubs are the basis for each player's formation and development and stressed that there is not a single receipt to successful youth development: each club has to find its best strategy taking into account social and cultural aspects.
Both a qualitative and quantitative analysis have helped to define and develop a comprehensive mapping exercise which is able to offer a true picture of the reality of youth development in European football.