13. The Class of 2019

Its almost unbelievable that its youth intake day again; already a year since I welcomed my first intake, who I looked at again in my last post. This year, we once again picked up four players from our initial intake, with one of them providing me with a real headache around his personality. However, like last year, I don’t think any of the 4 we’ve signed to long term deals are particularly world-beating, but I do think they have a future with some hard work, so here goes nothing!

Kelvin Kirby – Striker

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A promising striker, Kirby has already drawn comparison to team-mate Divock Origi, and I think with some work he could develop into a powerful target man. My main focus with Kevin is developing his physicality and technique. He’s a naturally gifted finisher, and while his mental attributes could do with some work, I want to make my priority developing his ability.

Callum Willis – Central Defender

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While he’s not a player who immediately jumps off the screen as a world beater, Callum does still have some desirable qualities about him: his strength both physically and mentally stand him in good stead, and he has a solid base from a technical standpoint. My main priority with Callum is improving his defensive attributes such as Tackling and Marking, and then moving onto his technique and passing ability, with the aim of moulding him into a solid Ball-Playing Defender to fit with the club’s system.

Dave Rush – Goalkeeper

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Goalkeeper has been a problem position for the club for a while now, however Dave Rush joins a complement of young, talented goalkeepers at the club all fighting to break through into the first team in the next few years. There’s not much about his starting point to complain about if i’m honest – he has a good attitude, and a decent technical base. Priorities here are his anticipation, positioning then moving on to his all-round goalkeeping.

Phil Jeffrey – Central Defender

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Phil is a strange one for me – he does have a solid technical base where it matters; his heading, marking and tackling are of a reasonable standard, and he’s not afraid to get stuck into opponents. However, I’ve picked him up, to be honest, to see if I can fix that personality. So far, he’s refusing to be tutored by anybody, so I dont know if he’ll ever amount to much, but for now we’re going to work on his all-round game and see if we can fix that lack of self belief.

Despite picking up four players from this intake, I’m still slightly disappointed by the lack of any really breathtaking talent, so I went straight to the boardroom, asking for both an improvement to our youth facilities, and a foreign affiliate to pick up players from for our youth intakes. The board gave me the option to choose the club we’d form a link with, and i’ve gone for German side Dynamo Dresden; Germany have produced some quality regens so far, which suggests there’s potential for decent players down the line. As well as that, they have good facilities, particularly for their youth players. Given the not-so-great training facilities i’m not sure that i’d send youngsters there to train, however they give us a good foothold on the German youth market.

Obviously i’d have liked for Dresden to have better coaching and recruitment, however i’m hoping over time they improve, and if not i’m sure they won’t be the last affiliate I enlist in this crazy adventure

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