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17 September 2015

WALSALL’S Talented and Gifted Development programme has gone from strength to strength over the years.

The scheme, which consists of 300 players from the local area, plays an important role in producing talented young players for the Club’s Academy.

Over 50 players have graduated through the system into the Academy – the latest being 13-year-old Lee Wood (pictured above), from Bloxwich, Walsall.

T&G Officer, Marc Wilkes, has overseen the programme’s development and is encouraged by its progress.

He said: “The programme has developed from having just one centre here at the stadium to now having three centres and three tiers - an elite centre, an advanced centre and a development centre.

“It now consists of 300 players. We’ve been able to recruit good talented players from the local area which fits in with the Academy philosophy of producing and working with talented young players. As a result, we’ve been able to produce players for the Academy.

“We’ve tried to replicate what I do with the Academy and what the Academy does for the club, in terms of the contact time, quality of coaching and the syllabus. Everything that goes with the Academy, we’ve tried to implement with our talented and gifted programme, so the transition won’t be as great as it would be if they were coming straight from grassroots.

“We’ve produced many players for the Academy which is now at a total of 33. The 33rd is Lee Wood, who was signed last week. Over 50 altogether have graduated from the Talented and Gifted Development system into the Academy, and we’re more than happy with it.”

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