Damien Duff has hit out at the "dinosaur mentality" which sees him criticised for training his Shamrock Rovers U15 side five times a week.
Duff says aspiring footballers in Ireland simply aren't playing enough, neither doing enough sessions each week nor for enough months of the year.
Duff visited Celtic last week having been approached about a vacancy in their set-up after U20 manager Shaun Maloney left to join the Belgium national team's staff. He said he'd "swim over to Scotland to do it".
Damien Duff says talks with Glasgow Celtic are ongoing as he considers a coaching role with the Scottish giants pic.twitter.com/5mEUfzEp6f— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) November 27, 2018
Commeting on the flaws within the Irish system, he told RTÉ: "What's always been my problem, 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.
"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
He says the U15 league began on March 25 and ran until the end of October, with the whole month of June off around exam-time.
"That's six months of football. For me, there should be another four or four and a half months on top of that.
"15-year-olds are dedicating their lives to becoming a footballer but this is what you need to do.
"These kids need to be training 11 months a year but because there's no competitive football, they're training eight or nine months a year.
"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 is 11 months a year, training seven days a week."