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Alan Hardy "100 percent" behind Checkatrade Trophy

Joe Jones

Alan Hardy has spoken in favour of the EFL Trophy, believing in its goal of nurturing young English talent, but insists that it needs the support of every team in the Premier League.

The competition, known as the Checkatrade Trophy for sponsorship purposes, has come under intense criticism this season after Premier League academy teams were entered into the tournament.

A number of League One and Two clubs have fined for picking weakened teams, while Bradford City changed their goalkeeper after three minutes to comply with the rules.

However, Hardy believes that, with a few tweaks, it can become a worthwhile competition.

He wrote in the Nottingham Post: "The build-up to the final is already underway which, naturally, has sparked debate about this season's competition and whether it has been a success.

"The inclusion of Premier League academy sides has proved to be a hugely contentious issue, raising questions as to whether it's actually been worth it.

"I am quite clear where I stand on this: I support it 100 percent because developing young English footballers is hugely important.

"Wouldn't it be great to see real Premier League stars of the future 18 months or so before they make their debut?

"Unfortunately, only Chelsea out of the Premier League's so-called 'big teams' said they would enter a team for this season's competition, which was disappointing.

"Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and Spurs decided not to field their academy sides and, for me, if the competition is to move forward, it has to be all or nothing.

"For us at Notts County, we lost money on our Checkatrade games once we had paid for stewarding and other matchday costs.

"In my opinion, it needs the full support of everybody in the Premier League and if that isn't the case, the competition needs to be reformatted."

To read the full column on the Nottingham Post, simply click here.

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I hate to argue, so I will simply say it fails to nature English talent. There's nothing wrong with the loan system, as this embeds players into a team which is more constructive compared to featuring alongside other emerging players. You can gain actual experience which is 'useful'.

The fact Premier League teams don't want to part take only highlights how bad it is as an idea.

Fundamentally this should be seen as nothing more than a 'quick fix' and people should really keep voting with their feet, it needs scrapping because it's a dangerous cocktail of stupidity and I for one will never be in favour of it.

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