Damien Duff believes one major problem in Irish football is that children simply don’t spend enough time on the pitch and it shows when compared to their peers elsewhere.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Champions League coverage, the former Ireland international offered his opinion on the appointment of Mick McCarthy as Republic of Ireland manager and also revealed he is in talks with Celtic over a coaching role, adding that he is hopeful something will happen with the Glasgow club.
The former Blackburn Rovers, Chelsea and Newcastle player, was also asked for his thoughts on the structures on Irish underage football.
Duff, the star of Brian Kerr’s U20 side that finished third at the 1998 Youth World Cup, is the current Shamrock Rovers U15 coach and has also had experience with the Irish underage set-up and can clearly see where there is a fault in the system.
"I get slaughtered for it in this country for training my lads five times a week"
"What's always been my problem with kids and I think the kids have to take some responsibility too and coaches at the clubs. Kids don't touch a ball enough and that will never change," he said.
"I get slaughtered for it in this country for training my lads five times a week, training half six in the morning doing double sessions and your back at half six at night. I get slaughtered.
"That's dinosaur mentality. You have to train five times a week. We went to play Chelsea during the season, they train seven times a week. But most teams train twice or three times a week, so that's a problem already."
‘I get slaughtered for training lads five times a week’ – Damien Duff says young players in Ireland simply don’t play enough football pic.twitter.com/9tU8YbrQj1— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) November 27, 2018
Duff cited the example of his Shamrock Rovers side who began their season in March before its conclusion in October.
"Six months of football. For me there should be another four months on top of that," he said. "They do not touch a ball enough, and that's an absolute fact.
"There's good players coming through but the difference between good and great players is 11 months a year, training seven days a week."