Betis want local favourites

Real Betis have unveiled an ambitious long-term plan ahead of Friday night's visit of struggling Granada.

Last Updated: 08/11/12 at 18:51

Pepe Mel: 'No barriers' to locals

Pepe Mel: 'No barriers' to locals

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Real Betis have unveiled an ambitious plan to field a first team comprising an overwhelming majority of local youngsters, ahead of Friday night's visit of struggling Granada.

The Seville outfit are determined to develop a policy which has seen Andalusian players Alex Martinez, Alejandro Pozuelo and Adrian break into the starting XI over recent seasons.

And with Betis flying high in the Primera Division table, president Miguel Guillen feels the foundations are in place for the Verdiblancos to become a self-sufficient club.

He told AS: "Within a reasonable time-frame we want the first team to consist of at least 70 per cent homegrown players.

"This is a sporting city than can be a factory for the first team and we believe this project will fully benefit Real Betis."

Director of football Vlada Stosic and head coach Pepe Mel concurred, the former adding: "The doors of the first team are open to all our kids. They must know that their time is now.

"During the next 10 years we hope that youth players will comprise even 80 per cent of the first team and so we will assign more scouts to devote themselves to attracting young players."

Mel said: "You have to encourage those players that want to be footballers.

"The first team will play its part in making this a reality. We will not put up any barriers to our kids."

Betis have climbed to fourth in the league table - behind only Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona - and are on an unbeaten run of four games from which they have taken 10 points.

Granada, though, are struggling in the relegation zone having lost three consecutive league games.

Brazilian midfielder Iriney left Betis for Los Carmones this summer, but is unwilling to travel the 160 miles back to Sevilla to do his former employers any favours.

"We can only rely on ourselves," he told the club's official website. "We cannot depend on refereeing decisions or for our rivals to slip up.

"It is a special match for me and I will enjoy it, but it will be a very difficult game.

"We can decide our own history. We have the opportunity to do it even if it will be difficult."


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