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Round Up: The latest news from the Academy

8 September 2022


Round Up: The latest news from the Academy

8 September 2022

While the Under 18s didn't play last weekend, there was still plenty of action in and around the academy. Here is a round-up of the latest news.


Lead Foundation Phase Coach Kieran Squire had the opportunity to work with the first team at their match against Bradford City earlier this month.

Squire travelled with the team and worked closely with the coaching staff on the day while gaining valuable experience within a first team environment.

He was delighted to have been given the opportunity to gain further knowledge by spending a matchday with the first team.  

“It was a really interesting experience just to work within the first team environment and see that final product of what we’re trying to produce in the Academy,” he said.  

“What do we do at Under 9s to Under 12s to help prepare them for the pressure and for the environment that the first team is so to get that first hand experience and understand the tiny details and the expectation that the first team has, it’s about how we can try and replicate or introduce snippets of it into what we do from Under 9s to 12s to help prepare them or have a different kind of learning experience to help them if or when they get to our first team, another first team or wherever they end up in their career of football.”

“It gave me a range of experience of what is required which helps me then structure sessions and how we approach sessions and games with standards, expectations and roles and responsibilities we give those boys to help prepare them the best we can.”

It’s been a busy month for the Academy and the Foundation Phase players who have been hard at work with new projects.

“We’ve rolled out a new curriculum and the boys are really starting to take to it and thrive," Squire commented.

"The learning has been really intense and we’re starting to play more fixtures now. Since the boys have been on holidays, you end up with disjointed teams because you haven’t got everybody there but they start back at school so there should be a little bit more continuity and consistency with the Foundation Phase boys because they will be playing and training together regularly as squads and as teams which helps them get used to each other and helps get the best from them as individuals.

“They’ve had a range of different experiences already. We’ve rolled out our new training programme at Black Country Goals in Bilston which has been really good. They’ve played a couple of games there, getting used to the intensity and problem solving in a different format of the game with the ball not going out of play so that is something really exciting that we’re in the early stages of but they’re thriving in that environment.”


Elsewhere, Walsall Under 17s were in action as they won 4-0 away at Fleetwood Town.

Youth Development Phase Coach Duane Allen was pleased the team started with a victory but insists there is still work to be done and has called on the players to improve and not rest on their laurels.

“It was a good result,” he said.

“Starting with a win is always good but overall, disappointed with the performance. That 16s/17s age group bracket, obviously results are important because it’s a competitive league but it’s more about the performance and how we played and at times we were OK in possession, passed it quite well but didn’t play quick enough like we have done.

"Out of possession, we probably could have been a little bit more aggressive and got in their faces early but a 4-0 win is always a bonus in a competitive league.

“They were happy in the changing room but when we told them that we expected better, it probably changed the mood in the dressing room. They trained well afterwards and we’re going to play Crewe Alexandra. They’re going to be tougher opposition so standards are going to have to be better.”

The Youth Development age groups have also had a busy start to the season and have already faced many different challenges.

“It’s been interesting because we’ve played some big teams,” Allen added.

“Crystal Palace, West Ham United, Nottingham Forest, Stoke City and Birmingham City so it’s been quite a good challenge for the boys playing different opposition from Kidderminster Harriers to West Ham and West Ham’s a big jump.

"They’ve conducted themselves well, a few have played up and earnt the chance to play up so it’s been a tough period with regards to the schedule but it’s been a productive one with the challenges that they’ve faced so hopefully will set a standard going forward for the season.”

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