Ajax’s much-fabled youth policy has been back in the spotlight again after the Dutch side’s incredible Champions League run continued – leading to some pundits to claim Rangers and Celtic should follow suit and follow the model set by them.
Former Rangers star Ronald de Boer was one of a number who made similar comments about Rangers copying the Dutch masters but the league system in Scotland simply won’t allow it to work.
Every major league on the continent has Colt teams in some shape or another with only the home nations being seemingly against the idea.
Ajax’s own youngsters play in the second-tier of the Dutch league and regularly have to play against senior professionals fighting for their livelihoods rather than the sanitised environment of reserve and academy football.
Coming through the ranks with Ajax, the likes of Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Donny van de Beek all cut their teeth in the Jong Ajax side before progressing to the first-team.
It’s the same with top players all across Europe – yet in Scotland clubs have no other option than to loan their young players out and hope they get a game somewhere, in an environment that’s going to aid their development.
Clubs can do everything in their power to help develop the best young players possible but when they can’t then let them go out and play because it might upset a few hundred fans somewhere then there’s something seriously wrong.