Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti has defended his record of bringing through young players, demanding more time to do so at the Allianz Arena, while pointing to his previous success at Real Madrid.
Former Bayern midfielder Dietmar Hamann had criticised Ancelotti earlier this month for neglecting younger players.
“Last year he had three of the best young players in Europe with Kingsley Coman, Joshua Kimmich and Renato Sanches in his squad,” Hamann said, adding that none of them had developed sufficiently under Ancelotti.
Speaking in an interview with Bild, Ancelotti said Bayern president Uli Hoeness and CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had both urged him to get younger players more involved this season.
“They explained very clearly their strategy to me,” Ancelotti said. “I’m trying to involve our own youth players. We have talents at training every day, but the step up is not that easy. You need time.”
He added: “There are a few players that could have a future here. Christian Fruchtl, Marco Friedl, Felix Gotze, Lukas Mai and Timothy Tillman all took part in the Audi Cup. There’s also some very good players in the under-19s at the moment like Franck Evina, [Lars Lukas] Mai and Marcel Zylla.”
FC Bayern Campus, the club’s new €70 million academy, was officially opened on Monday.
Hoeness said at the ceremony that the campus “will also provide an answer to the current transfer madness and the explosion of salaries” as the German champions strive to develop their own homegrown talent to follow in the footsteps of Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Muller.
Ancelotti echoed his president’s sentiment, adding to Bild: “That’s true; the academy is a good response to that. The academy’s aim is to develop our own professionals and bring these players through into the first team.”
Ancelotti added that the pressure to deliver instant results can be a big hindrance to bringing through younger players.
“In the U18s there are two or three top talents but in Europe’s top teams, it isn’t that easy to integrate young players. It is difficult to give them the time and simultaneously achieve the desired results.
“To play for Bayern, a young player must truly be a top talent. At clubs like Real or Barcelona, it’s also tricky giving minutes to a talented player in order for them to develop.”
However, Ancelotti pointed to his record at Madrid to provide some hope for the Bayern hierarchy.
“At Real Madrid I brought through five players from the academy — Jese [Rodriguez], [Alvaro] Morata, Nacho, Casemiro and [Dani] Carvajal who came back [from Bayer Leverkusen],” he said. “I am hoping for a similar development in Bayern’s future.”
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.