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Stoke chairman Peter Coates wants more academy players in Potters squad

Stoke chairman Peter Coates insists the club are "desperate" to bring academy products through to the first-team squad but has stressed the difficulty in doing so.

A study by the CIES Football Observatory has found the percentage of club-trained players - those who have spent at least three seasons between the ages of 15 and 21 with their current side - in Barclays Premier League squads has reached a new low, dropping to 11.7 from 13.8 last year.

Stoke were 16th on the list of English top-flight clubs at just 3.8 per cent.

Coates, quoted on Wednesday by The Sentinel, said: "We are desperate to bring young players through.

"I would like to see half-a-dozen players on the bench who are academy products. But we are not there yet.

"What we are doing as a nation is improving the technical ability of British players across the board.

"The problem we have is the 18 to 22 age group and how we can continue their training and education in competitive football.

"It is difficult to make the transition into Premier League football unless you are an exceptional player.

"The problem is the step up from academy football to Premier League football. The only avenue we have is the loan system.

"The FA know it's a problem, the clubs know it's a problem, and we can't find a solution."

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