Patrick Van Aanholt and B Teams
News that Patrick Van Aanholt has been included in Holland's preliminary 30-man squad for the World Cup in Brazil brings back thoughts of his time as a Coventry City player but also highlights the balance of power within football today.
The left-back was just about to turn 19 when he joined the Sky Blues on loan at the beginning of the 2009/10 season. Fair enough at the time Chelsea were keen for him to gain some experience in the Championship and see how he stepped up to that level of competition.
Van Aanholt has since played for Newcastle United, Leicester City and Wigan Athletic before spending the past two seasons with Vitesse Arnhem. He remains a Chelsea player, however, one of more than twenty they have loaned out to clubs in the UK and overseas this season.
It's a similar situation at a number of big clubs where a large playing staff can be hoarded to keep them out of the clutches of others and yet the FA (of all people rather than the Premier League) are seeking to entrench further this situation by allowing B teams to enter the football pyramid and also bringing the notion of 'feeder' clubs back on to the agenda on the vague promise that it may lead to more English-qualified players in the future.