Hale: Academy plays a significant role

By SFC Media time Fri 20 Jul Saints Academy
Photo by James Bridle

Having spoken to Director of Football Operations Ross Wilson this week, we also caught up with Academy Manager Matt Hale, who spoke about the ongoing development of the club's younger players, and the steps taken to keep pace with other Premier League clubs.

Hale welcomed Saints' new crop of youngsters to the club a few weeks back, and is excited to find out what the latest Under-18s intake can achieve, after last year's group finished third in their league, second only to Arsenal and Chelsea.

Also touching on the growth of the club's scouting networks, Hale discusses the role recruitment plays in trying to unearth the best young talent for the club.

"The scholars have just started, we've brought some boys through from the age of eight, which is great for them, but we've also acquired a few players from outside of the club who we've monitored for some time," he explained.

"We certainly are excited by what we've seen in them, it's a great group. Plenty of competition for places.

"The environment is more demanding and intensified now, with the opportunity for the manager to be watching you. It's more pressurised, but we're ultimately preparing these young players for Premier League football.

"We're careful with our organisation here, the academy plays a significant role at the club. With the support of the board and the first-team staff, we make sure those channels are open for young talent. So that they get the opportunity to be in first-team plans if, or when, they're ready."

Everyone knows our academy story. it shows that we are doing something right.

Matt Hale

"The nature of the training ground and campus here means that young lads are exposed to the first-team everyday. You've got to earn the right, but they train close to one another.

"Our recruitment is not just local and regional, it's national now. We have a presence in Europe, we're opening up different avenues in various European countries. The reputation whenever I travel is really high and we've upped our game in terms of our footprint.

"We can show the historic success of our academy, and more recently players who have made debuts. Everyone knows our story and it shows we're doing things right."

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