Wilson excited for new Academy intake

By SFC Media time Fri 20 Jul Saints Academy
Photo by Matt Watson | Ross Wilson

Director of Football Operations Ross Wilson sat down with us at Staplewood Campus as the new season fast approaches, to give an insight into the work behind the club's newest Academy recruits.

Explaining the steps taken to remain competitive in the market, Wilson discusses how the club have widened scouting networks, and searched for young talent across England and Europe, as the demands of the Premier League, at all levels, continues to grow year on year.

A number of youngsters have just returned from a first-team pre-season trip to China, while many are also continuing to train under the guidance of manager Mark Hughes - and opportunity is something that Wilson believes is key to the development of the club's younger talent.

"It's always exciting when the players arrive back after the summer. The Academy has got a wonderful reputation here," Wilson began.

"We've got scouts all across England and we've expanded the network further afield now. So we're really excited about this latest crop of players, a lot have come through the ranks here, but we've also recruited some talent from other top clubs.

"It's a really good time for the Academy, the pre-season period is always exciting. The coaches are excited to be back on the grass and we are excited to welcome new players to the fold.

The fans like to see young players breaking through, because they understand the academy is part of our culture here.

ross wilson
director of football operations

"It's always stressed by our coaching staff that the hard work starts now. They've not 'made it' at this point, we've got to stress that all the way through, but it's certainly an exciting period of development for young players.

"In football generally, there's got to be opportunities for young players to develop through. But specifically at this club, it's very much part of our history. The fans here like to see young players breaking through, they get behind them, because they understand the academy is part of our culture here.

"When Mark Hughes arrived last season, one of the first things he did was promote some of the younger players to train with the first-team. The first step towards playing top level football is training with the first-team, under the watch of the first-team manager. That's really pleasing for us to see.

"Our reputation for nurturing young talent has been earned over many years and we want to see many more academy debuts in years to come!"

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