Inverness development head calls for Scottish youth player quotas

Yuto Nagatomo and Ryan Christie
Ryan Christie (right) featured in Celtic's recent friendly defeat by Inter Milan

Inverness CT head of youth development Charlie Christie believes a quota system should be introduced in Scottish football.

Christie would like to see a minimum of five home-grown players in every match squad and feels too many managers are afraid to play youngsters.

"It would make clubs put more resources into their youth systems," he told BBC Scotland.

"It would make managers give young boys a chance at an earlier age."

Christie's son Ryan, now a Celtic forward, and midfielder Liam Polworth established themselves as teenagers at Inverness and Christie senior puts that down to the bravery of former manager John Hughes, who left the club this summer.

"I'll tell you right now that Liam Polworth and Ryan Christie would not have played at the time that they did had it not been for John Hughes having the guts to play them," said Christie.

Joe Cardle and Liam Polworth
Polworth (right) has made over 80 appearances for Caley Thistle

"There is no way that [Hughes' predecessor] Terry Butcher would have played these boys.

"The club have now got Liam playing 30, 40 games a season and have made big money off the other lad, so they've been proved right.

"We've got good players in our youth system, but it takes a brave manager to play them. There should be a rule in Scottish football to do it. If we want to make the game better in this country, we need to do something about it.

"It's about giving them light at the end of the tunnel. It's not just at our club, but every club. Managers play it safe and tend to go for experienced boys and they don't do that on the continent.

"I've been to Switzerland, I've been to Italy, to Spain, to Greece, to see how they do it. They have a bigger emphasis on giving younger boys a chance, if they're good enough."

Christie - who managed Caley Thistle between 2006 and 2007 - believes there are more youngsters in the Inverness youth set-up who have the potential to progress to the first team, now managed by Richie Foran.

Charlie Christie
Christie senior had concerns about son Ryan's move to Celtic

Like his son, Christie also joined Celtic during his playing career but he could not establish himself in the side and returned to playing in the Highlands.

He was wary about his son making the same move, but says that he benefited from former Celtic manager Ronny Deila's coaching and can now flourish under his successor, Brendan Rodgers.

"Brendan has come in and Ryan has really bought into his ideas," Christie added.

"It's going to be difficult for him, they've got lots of good, quality, talented players.

"He wanted the challenge and feels he can better himself, become fitter, stronger, faster, and the good thing for me, speaking to the Scotland Under-21 coaches, when he played last year they felt he has improved."

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