Les Ferdinand believes English football should return to the reserve team structure that has been abandoned for an Under-23 league.
The QPR director of football believes that youth development games lack the intensity of first team football.
And he recalled his time at the club where he was playing against seasoned pros who weren't afraid to rough up a younger player.
Ferdinand said: “I’m a big fan of youth development, but this Under-21s or Under-23s I’m not a big fan of.
“I came through a system where I was playing men’s football. But the boys get to a level in the Under-23s when you’ve got to send them out to play men’s football.
“In the old Combination we played against seasoned pros. If you didn’t play on the Saturday, you knew you were playing in that reserve side - it didn’t matter how senior.
“My first game for QPR, I had Clive Walker, Sammy Lee, Chivers and we went to play Southampton and I played against Jimmy Case.
“I remember Jimmy Case smashing me in the first five minutes and saying ‘welcome to professional football young man’ after he left me crumpled on the floor.
“That was my education. Now you’re getting players playing for the Under-9s, Under-10s and when they get to the Under-23s they’re still playing against the same people. Where’s the development?
“So we’re having to send players out on loan to try and get that development in men’s football.
“But this cup (Checkatrade Trophy) I suppose gives them that opportunity to play against men. It’s going to be a good thing in that sense.”
The success of the Spanish national team has led to English football trying to copy their model and produce technical players.
However, two technical U23 sides playing slow-tempo football will not prepare you for the blood and thunder of Premier League football.
Ferdinand added: “We’ve messed about with our football for so long now, trying to find the right answers and the right solutions to development.
“We brought this EPPP system into place for the development and the technique and players at a younger level because we can compete in European competitions but didn’t have the technical ability of the other teams.
“So we put this EPPP in place and then we produce John Stones and say he’s too technical to play for our national team. So what do we do now?”
“In this country the reason why the Premier League is the most watched league in the world is you can be winning the game in the 88th minute and by the time the referee has blown the whistle it could be 2-1 to the other team.
“I believe we need to be more technical but don’t go away from what we’ve always been, add that to what we have.
“We’ve gone away from that. You get bored watching Under-23 games these days it’s just the same old stuff.”