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Academy improving quicker than the first team


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Lloyd Kelly becoming the third academy product in two years to be sold to the Premier League got me thinking about the relative performance and progress of the academy as a whole against the standard of the first team.

For many years, our academy products generally struggled to break into our first team and the club failed to manage those who did (Rosenior). Most of our hot prospects ended up playing at League Two and occasionally League One level whilst the first team generally struggled at the top of League One and for a while at the middle and bottom of the Championship (leaving the 07/08 season aside).

I’m sure I’m forgetting someone but it feels like Carey was the only one to make it here whilst we have seen a lot of promising youngsters leave with their potential unfulfilled (Brown, Odejayi, Myrie-Williams, Ribeiro, Edwards, Wilson etc). 

Today, the academy is producing players worth millions to the club who go on to play in the top flight and receive international age group call ups.

Much has been made of the fact that over the last five years the first team has gone from being disappointing in League One to Championship contenders with year on year success. But, the academy has been on a far greater trajectory. With Reid and Bryan getting recent top flight experience and Kelly set to join them after he, O’Leary and Vyner have acquitted themselves well at Championship level in addition to those players now targeting a League One loan before returning to compete for places at this level. In addition  to those players experiencing success at League Two and Non League level at the start of their careers rather than on their way down.

There are also the young players like Semenyo and (I think) Bakinson who haven’t always been at our academy but have come here, improved and are looking higher up the pyramid than the prodigies of previous seasons. 

If nothing else, it seems the days of having to buy in mediocre players and watch them regress are behind us. The progress on and off the pitch is good to see and who knows, if the first team can keep up with the academy we may well make it to the promised land with ‘some of our own.’

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I guess it’s all about the timing of the players coming through. Undoubtedly some need to go out and learn at lower levels but occasionally someone like Kelly bursts through. Had Joe Bryan stayed maybe Kelly would have played less.

What will be interesting is seeing if anymore will be stepping up pre-season. Bakinson, Semenyo and Morrell for example could all solve problems for us if they do and possibly save us a wad of cash. Likewise Moore and Vyner and possibly Janneh could come into the reckoning. It is one of the dilemmas as to deciding ‘the right time’ for these and others. We are rumoured to be spending a large chunk of our budget on Moore when we may already have better in Semenyo.

LJ has a lot to ponder, especially if the budget is tighter than many expect because expectation levels are certainly now much higher after this season.

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The Academy has done really well. When you think of how long it takes to find and develop these young players it's actually surprising that we are getting prem level products already. It can only get better, and who knows soon instead of filling the squad with the Watkins, Hunts, Eisa's of the world etc we will be able to boost the first team squad numbers with quality competitive home grown lads, saving fees and wages.

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It’s another thing to manage and can cause issues. The average of the team that got us to the old first division was very low 21/22 I think. Dicks was very loyal to them as well and that meant the next generation of players really struggled to get through, we lost a lot of talent, and local lads didn’t want to come here because of the lack of opportunity. At least with the multiple subs and move towards rotation gives more opportunities to be involved in match days.

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The great thing is, we will attract even better youngsters.

They will see the pathway and opportunities given at our Academy...a fast track system. 

Either to play for the first team or eventually get a big move if hard work pays off.

It's a win win situation.

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Best way to go, it will mean some seasons we may struggle a bit, but looking at our recent history, consolidating in the Championship, with financial stability and an excellent ground is a massive step forward. Remember, the Championship is very competitive, small margins, don’t get carried away with recent success.

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11 hours ago, BrightCiderLife said:

Lloyd Kelly becoming the third academy product in two years to be sold to the Premier League got me thinking about the relative performance and progress of the academy as a whole against the standard of the first team.

For many years, our academy products generally struggled to break into our first team and the club failed to manage those who did (Rosenior). Most of our hot prospects ended up playing at League Two and occasionally League One level whilst the first team generally struggled at the top of League One and for a while at the middle and bottom of the Championship (leaving the 07/08 season aside).

I’m sure I’m forgetting someone but it feels like Carey was the only one to make it here whilst we have seen a lot of promising youngsters leave with their potential unfulfilled (Brown, Odejayi, Myrie-Williams, Ribeiro, Edwards, Wilson etc). 

Today, the academy is producing players worth millions to the club who go on to play in the top flight and receive international age group call ups.

Much has been made of the fact that over the last five years the first team has gone from being disappointing in League One to Championship contenders with year on year success. But, the academy has been on a far greater trajectory. With Reid and Bryan getting recent top flight experience and Kelly set to join them after he, O’Leary and Vyner have acquitted themselves well at Championship level in addition to those players now targeting a League One loan before returning to compete for places at this level. In addition  to those players experiencing success at League Two and Non League level at the start of their careers rather than on their way down.

There are also the young players like Semenyo and (I think) Bakinson who haven’t always been at our academy but have come here, improved and are looking higher up the pyramid than the prodigies of previous seasons. 

If nothing else, it seems the days of having to buy in mediocre players and watch them regress are behind us. The progress on and off the pitch is good to see and who knows, if the first team can keep up with the academy we may well make it to the promised land with ‘some of our own.’

Possible exception during the dark years was Skuse.  Not amazing but did well for City and respected at Ipswich 

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On 19/05/2019 at 12:30, Johnny Musicworks said:

I guess it’s all about the timing of the players coming through. Undoubtedly some need to go out and learn at lower levels but occasionally someone like Kelly bursts through. Had Joe Bryan stayed maybe Kelly would have played less.

What will be interesting is seeing if anymore will be stepping up pre-season. Bakinson, Semenyo and Morrell for example could all solve problems for us if they do and possibly save us a wad of cash. Likewise Moore and Vyner and possibly Janneh could come into the reckoning. It is one of the dilemmas as to deciding ‘the right time’ for these and others. We are rumoured to be spending a large chunk of our budget on Moore when we may already have better in Semenyo.

LJ has a lot to ponder, especially if the budget is tighter than many expect because expectation levels are certainly now much higher after this season.

Was speaking to Brian Tinnion recently at Senior Reds and he mentioned the same players as you who are ready to push for the first team next season.  The future looks really bright at our academy. He also said it's easier for us to retain youngsters now with our facilities and pathway to the first team squad. He sounded really positive about the future and if anyone would know it would be him. Exciting times ahead methinks.

 

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There's a chicken and egg question in my mind.

Did we really sell Bryan because we had Kelly, or because he insisted on leaving (after the season started)? Or did we only play play Kelly because we lost Bryan.

Same with Morrell, arguably only gets games because we never invested in midfield and we had injuries.

I would like to hope we give the academy a chance because they are ready, rather than because we are desperate - but I'm not convinced. For example we still signed Da Silva even though we had Kelly - I think the margins are so fine between win and lose no club who is pushing for the Championship top end can risk youngsters - just look at Sheffield United this season - did I recall correctly next to no minutes from their U21 players (exc loans)? 

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Our academy has so many exciting prospects. I really hope one or two can surprise LJ in preseason and do enough to be given a chance. 

Yes we expect O'Leary, Vyner, Moore and Semenyo to be involved. But can some of the others take their chance?

I imagine there will be a big squad flying to Florida. Johnson will want to look at the likes of Pring, J Smith, Evans etc.

It sounds really promising on what he said about Janneh. Hopefully he's part of the squad. He looks like he is a fox in the box type we don't really have.

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