BT Sport Films has announced the next instalment in its series examining football’s academy system and exploring youth development from the grassroots to the international stage.
The film, No Hunger in Paradise, is based on the book by award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist Michael Calvin, and features the likes of Arsene Wenger, Gareth Southgate and Steven Gerrard. It will premiere during FA Cup Third Round weekend of January 5 to 8, 2018.
The revealing documentary, outlining the pressures, pitfalls and rewards of making it as a professional footballer, comes at a time of unprecedented success for England teams at age group level. England are FIFA World Champions at Under 17 and Under 20 level, while the Under 19 squad are UEFA European Champions.
With only half of one per cent of boys who enter academies at the age of nine going on to make a living from the game, the film addresses why so many fail to make an impact at the country’s top clubs. No Hunger in Paradise looks at those players who have found success, and shares the stories of those who haven’t been as lucky.
The Premier League are committed to investing in the region of £800million to youth development, and England international James Ward Prowse offers insight into the dedication required to beat the odds.
The likes of Joey Barton and Les Reed, Southampton’s technical director, also feature, alongside Chelsea’s nine year-old prospect Ezra Tika Lemba, who is just beginning his footballing journey.
Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “It appears that it has never been harder for young players to progress to elite levels of the game. No Hunger in Paradise explores the pathways for young players to the top, hearing from those involved at local community centres and youth talent scouts, as well as taking a look at some of the most elite academies in the country.”
The film is the latest in a series of revealing documentaries by BT Sport Films, with the world of referees, the Bradford City fire and the Crazy Gang of Wimbledon all previously being looked at in-depth to great acclaim.