Mark Allen: Platt Lane's long game
- Thu 12 Jul 2012, 4:55PM
- Posted by Mark Booth
In the second week of Mark Allen's blog, City's Head of Academy reflects on the scholar's signing evening and weighs up the importance of results against a player's development.
The signing night at the Etihad Stadium was fantastic and a fitting culmination of years of hard work from many members of the squad. They are now fully-fledged members of the playing squad for the next two years and are eligible to play at all relevant levels, from u-18s to EDS to the first team.
It was great that all of the parents were invited to witness the signing of the contracts. At the event I outlined the strategy for their next two years as scholars, made them aware of the opportunities that would be at their disposal and talked over the direction the boys will hopefully take over the next two years.
It’s just the start of the hard work for them though, signing this contract is just the first step and it’s important that they knuckle down and tap into all of the excellent support that they have around them.
Obviously last season finished a little bit disappointingly in that we started so strongly and tailed off slightly but results are just one factor in what we’re trying to do at the Academy.
Sometimes we have to take a long-term approach to the development of our players and if that means putting some members of the under-16 squad into the under-18 side for the experience of playing against physically stronger opposition, then we accept this might impact on results.
It’s development that will bring on the players of tomorrow, not winning football matches at youth level and whilst it’s good to win and we set out to win every game, the overriding goal is to develop players.
The Academy wheel turns again on Monday as our new under-16s begin their pre-season training at Platt Lane – these are the boys that will be hoping to emulate the likes of Marcos Lopes and Angus Gunn in a year’s time, while also studying for their GCSEs.
That’s some juggling act...