Academy And Under-23s

Discussion in 'The Team Bus' started by wfc78, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. The Recluse

    The Recluse Reservist

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  2. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

  3. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

    Surely he’s just identifying something that happens at all clubs?
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  4. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Quite - we let Ashley Young go the first time !
  5. The Recluse

    The Recluse Reservist

    Another new addition to the academy set up will be joining in February with Robert Smith (no, not that one) coming in.

    Watford advertised for an Academy Lead Analyst at the back end of November last year, so it looks like the current incumbent, Daniel Bedeau, is vacating his position.

    The job entails working across all age groups at the academy, from U9s right up to the U23s.

    In June 2018 Smith took up the same position at the Notts County academy after previously being their Assistant First Team Analyst for little over a year. In fact it looks like the 27-yr old prefers to keep moving offices as he has also been Academy Performance Analyst (2016-2017) at Cardiff City as well as Academy Match Analyst (2014-2015) with Stoke City.

    Smith's last match day involvement with County was today (Saturday 17, January 2021) with the young Magpies going down 3-4 against Scunthorpe.

  6. The Recluse

    The Recluse Reservist

    James Hoskins (20), who was released by Watford at the end of last season, has this week joined Kendal Town for the remainder of the current season.

    Town are a level 8 side and play in the Northern Premier League Division One West.
    The young keeper has done well to earn himself a contract considering the league is currently suspended
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  7. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    I often wonder if these young players drop so far done just to get a game (or they Woolf if the season was being played)

    Going from a Championship club youth team to level 8 is quite a difference!
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  8. Hopefully he's the cure.
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  9. The Recluse

    The Recluse Reservist

    If a player isn't considered good enough by a Championship side there's a good chance he'll be dropping down the leagues no matter what but you're right, Championship to Level 8 is a serious drop and cannot all be about ability.

    Playing time must be a big factor for some to drop so far and being attached to any club means you're constantly in the eye of scouts up & down the country, (if the leagues are allowed to play!) While there are numerous trials for players released from academies and trial events by independent agencies, it can only be a good thing turning out at 3pm on a Saturday for someone.

    There must also be non-football reasons though.

    If a player isn't picked up quickly by another club they'll most likely join the trial circuit. But how long can a person do that without a wage coming in? Sure, some will be backed by parents but at some point an income needs to be earned.

    So, the trials have proved fruitless for clubs in the Championship and those in Leagues 1 & 2. National League sides have had a look and still no offers are forthcoming.

    Maybe it's time to start thinking beyond football as the main source of income and look at working part-time combined with finding a side lower down the pyramid? Perhaps the first steps of finding a 'proper job' have already started and offers from clubs clash geographically or perhaps the working hours don't compliment each other. That could easily lead to finding a side further down the leagues who don't train as often so it's easier to fit in with work.

    Possibly, due to having no income, the player will move back into the family home so the choice of clubs becomes reduced that way.

    It may also be a chance to further ones education by going to university and a team at a low level near to their campus means he can continue playing without it impinging on his study time.

    With the amount of young men attached to academies now there must also be a saturation point as you go down the leagues be it at professional, part-time or amateur level.

    So while it may be down to a lack of ability or any of the scenarios I've mooted, and there must be many more reasons I haven't immediately thought of, it could simply be a lack of space and, now with lower league football struggling even more financially due to Covid-19, a lack of finances at those clubs.
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  10. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    In the wake of this you can see some clubs going to the wall and being reformed while many will trim squads and bring in apprenticeship contracts. A surplus of players some of which will have to move into other careers or accept moving down the pyramid is the only route.
    The Recluse likes this.
  11. The Recluse

    The Recluse Reservist

    Spot on.

    Academy funding has already been cut at a few who were Cat.1 so their status has dropped - Swansea are an example while Birmingham are also restructuring the club from top to bottom apparently - and this week has seen Derby County openly touting their standout academy performers to EPL clubs to raise funds. I'm sure there'll be a few clubs doing it a bit more privately but the upshot is there will still be huge and obscene wages paid to moderately skilled individuals turning out in 1st teams while academy numbers are reduced, thus perpetuating the need to buy further down the line rather than trusting a system already in place and bringing players through.
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  12. The Recluse

    The Recluse Reservist

    No U18 game this weekend.

    The U23s have drawn 2-2 (1-1 at h/t) away at Colchester United this afternoon with goals from Dom Hutchinson & Toby Stevenson putting the 'Orns 1-0 & 2-1 up.

    Several more trialists on show with another keeper being looked at, and judging by the way the media team have listed the players it looks like a defender & a midfielder were the other positions taken up.

    No Tiago Cukur on show while it looks like Dalby, Phillips, Hungbo & Crichlow were also absent with their inclusion in the 1st team squad for tomorrow's game against Barnsley probably the reason.

    Trialist (GK), Trialist, Stevenson (C), Burchell, Statham, Perkins, Trialist, Wise, Hutchinson, McKiernan, Lo-Everton.

    subs: Agyakwa, Marriott, Forde, Horsewood, Conteh.
  13. RS2

    RS2 First Year Pro

    Looks like Cukur has been training with the first team as well. Would rather have these guys training with the first team than play other U23s to be fair.
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  14. nornironhorn

    nornironhorn Administrator Staff Member

    You have probably answered this multiple times before, but what are your thoughts on Crichlow?

    Over the years we've had plenty of strikers come through the academy who then haven't done anything of note (Mensah, Folivi, Jakubiak) and over the last season or so it has mainly been Dalby and Cassidy that get attention and Crichlow has gone under the radar somewhat.
  15. The Recluse

    The Recluse Reservist

    Hello nornirohorn. As I'll say to everyone asking my opinion on any player - I'm just an ordinary fan with no professional insight or knowledge when it comes to players and their skill levels or potential. Mine is very much an uneducated opinion.

    Right, with that disclaimer out of the way, what I'll say about Crichlow is also based on a relatively small amount of games. He joined in July 2019 then broke an ankle a couple of months later in September, only making a comeback in February 2020. It wasn't an immediate full return either as he was eased slowly back into action. Throw in a pandemic and he's been seriously unlucky with the amount of game time available to him.

    What have I seen?
    I first saw him play as a trialist in what must have been the tail end of the 2018/19 season. He's one of the few trialists who's made an immediate impression as he was strong and direct with his running in possession from deep and, playing (if I remember correctly) as a wide midfielder tucked in, always managed to find space when receiving the ball despite the amount of players in his vicinity. He also timed his passes well as he rarely lost the ball through being tackled. He didn't show a great deal of flair or rapid pace but either the team or the ball would move forward quickly when the possession went through him.

    My initial instinct was he would make a good attacking midfielder, maybe at the head of a diamond or in the middle of three behind the forward in a 4231.

    Either by accident or design, once he signed and put a few games together (that I witnessed) he tended to be played out wide on the left with Kaylen Hinds preferred as the player just behind the main forward, who was invariably Sam Dalby at the time.

    I really don't think this did Crichlow too many favours. Being close to the touchline meant he was now only operating with space on his inside while an overlapping fullback often meant he was forced inside to a congested midfield or expectant centre-backs, depending how far forward he was at the time, as any room behind his marker was taken up by a team mate. As I saw it, this was another problem. In those trial games he would sometimes pick up or receive the ball in deep areas. Now, as an attacking wide player on the left, he had an opposing full-back on him very quickly and where before he was able to find space in-between opposition lines he now had little or no space at all when receiving the ball.

    His control is good and he has some pace in those first 5 yards or so but without any real natural flair or tricks to beat a player with his first or second touch, he was now beginning to lose the ball in contact or having to play backwards just to keep possession. Any attacking intent had been stifled as far as I could see.

    Defensively he struggles. Like so many in the U23s he tends to ball watch so is out of position and either easily passed around or he fails to pick up his full-back making a forward run for the opposing team. Both Crichlow and Joseph Hungbo let themselves down badly in this regard. Whatever attacking plus points they have are, for me, wiped out by their lack of a defensive side to their game.

    For all of that, it must be remembered he's missed a lot of football since joining and it may be he needs a good solid season of playing games to start really showing what he can do. He's obviously making an impression as he's trained with the first team pretty much since he joined, it's just putting training performances onto the pitch now.

    For a comparison I prefer Crichlow over Hungbo due to his better choice of passing, movement & overall 'game', though Hungbo does have a very good habit of cutting in from the right and scoring with his very decent left foot. But then I picked Betamax over VHS, BSB over Sky and thought my minidisc player would never become outdated. When it comes to spotting potential and longevity, I've not got a great track record!
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  16. WatfordTalk

    WatfordTalk First Team

    Don't forget Ogo Obi!
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  17. The Recluse

    The Recluse Reservist

    An interesting listen from short lived Watford academy coach Darren Sarll over on the Academy Football Network.

    His approach sounds very similar to that of current U23 boss Omer Riza. Very happy to put an arm around a player, be a father figure, confident, all round educator to the youngsters they help develop and to keep their door open long after he or the player has moved on. At the same time they're happy to have a shout when needed. I always thought Hayden Mullins, who took the U23s after Sarll and before Riza, as the opposite and is a considered coach who gains respect and authority in a different, more quiet way. Sarll also comes across as amazingly enthusiastic too and his very quick pathway into coaching is interesting in itself.

    Not a great deal is spoken of as to why he left Watford but he's nothing but complimentary about his 8 months there.
    Reading between the lines though, as well as being the caring coach it's also alluded to that he can be a shouter and a screamer when the need arises. It's also touched on how some players aren't willing to be subjected to that and, as opposed to days gone by when you took your medicine and either fell by the wayside or got stronger for it, there are now procedures in place within the workplace to let it be known you're not happy being treated in such a way.

    Judging by his remarks that he was getting a lot of positive contact from players he'd coached at Watford after he left the club, it sounds like it was a small number who took exception to some of his methods - bullying was mentioned at the time - but overall he had a good relationship with people at the club.

    It's also interesting he had an already established relationship with ex-Sporting Director Andy Scott from their time at Brentford and that their respective departures from Watford was relatively close. With Sarll eventually having his contract terminated in February 2019 and Scott leaving in April, it makes me wonder if there's a connection there at all.

    He's a big admirer of Ben Wilmot and the way he handles the pressure of football, being a youngster in Stevenage's 1st team environment and the help a supportive family can have.

    By contrast, he also makes a point of just how difficult it is for a young player coming through in handling being around the first team. If an academy coach wraps them up in cotton wool too much or they're constantly told they're in the top bracket in each age level group, they are totally unprepared for the realities of what can be a brutal environment where players' only thought is to win, giving little or no mind to a kid playing mens football for the first time. As he says, there's no HR rep in the first team! Funnily enough, he mentions Deeney at this point. That's not to say TD is a bully and stops at source any competition for his place, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence to say the opposite and it may have just been Watford was on Sarll's mind at this point in the interview. I did raise an eyebrow though.

    You'll also enjoy the three segments if resilience is one of your favourite words.

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  18. I Blame Bassett

    I Blame Bassett Squad Player

    Very interesting Recluse,thank you.
    I often wonder at how hard it is for young men to transition from the youth team to the first team.
    The average age of the men in the top 100 in tennis is 27. It takes a lot of time to mature physically,let's not forget that men don't stop growing until they are 21.
    As we know there isn't a lot of time in football and many players can be jettisoned too soon or slip down the pyramid only to return better for it ( Lowe at Swansea is a good example).
    To use the word from above there are many that do not have this resilience and will fall through the cracks,many a talented tennis player/golfer/athlete/ stacking shelves or working in the city.
    So very hard to transition whatever the sport.
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  19. The Recluse

    The Recluse Reservist

    No worries I Blame Bassett.

    Sarll was also keen to emphasise how each player will develop differently to each other, so a blanket approach to coaching will never work. Individual plans for mental, physical and technical training needs to be constantly monitored and tinkered with as well as taking into account what's going on in each players life away from the club.

    No names were mentioned but as good as Wilmot's background and upbringing was, he briefly mentioned a couple of youth team players during his time at Watford who were at complete odds with that. The club helped them in that regard too - work never seen or heard about by us supporters but which will change the direction someone's life is heading.

    I particularly liked when he listed his proudest moment was when something like 14 scholars from across all the years he'd been coaching made the effort to be at his wedding reception despite having to travel all manner of distances. Bonds formed throughout his time in coaching really do matter to him and Omer Riza has said exactly the same recently.

    Maybe Youth Coach or Academy Coach is the wrong title for these people and they should be seen more as mentors.

    On the point of players dropping out, he said something along the lines of there being a 0.02% success rate of youth players making the grade. No parameters were mentioned as to what exactly a success means but that really is a ridiculously low amount - or it just goes to show how many kids are in academies now.
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  20. The Recluse

    The Recluse Reservist

    Paul Wavell, the current Lead Academy Goalkeeper Coach in the YDP & PDP (Youth Development Program & Professional Development Programme), goalkeeper assistant (u13-u23s) at Watford FC, is leaving the Hornets and will set up home in South Wales to join Swansea City. Paul has been at Watford for the past 2 years.
  21. The Recluse

    The Recluse Reservist

    Weekend round-up for the academy sides.

    As posted by Chumlax elsewhere, Henry Ochieng has signed until the end of the season.
    He was previously on trial at Watford in April 2019.

    The U18s lost 1-3 at Millwall on Saturday with the Lions leapfrogging the Hornets into second place. No details anywhere as of yet.

    This afternoons U23 fixture against Charlton looks as if it was postponed.

    As well as Ochieng, the trialists in last weeks U23 game were keeper Tommy Scott and forward Henri William Ogunby.
    Scott (21) is currently associated with the Southampton B squad after the Saints signed him from Yeovil in 2019.
    Ogunby (20) has had several clubs, starting at Bury before being picked up by Manchester City. Burnley signed him in 2020 but he's since been released.

    Here's an article on the young forward from his time at Turf Moor:
  22. reids

    reids Squad Player

    Scout I knows view on him (brief as ever haha):
    I've watched him. Nothing to write home about. Surprised by the move tbh. Going into u23s I don't see the point when he is 23 this year
    Bit of a versatile player
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
  23. The Recluse

    The Recluse Reservist

    It looks like he was released by a Cork City side who finished rock bottom of the League of Ireland Premier Division and he appeared in 17 of the 18 games played.

    Bodes well.
  24. reids

    reids Squad Player

    Sounds like U23 squad filler, although an odd one since he'll be 23 in November.
  25. The Recluse

    The Recluse Reservist

    There aren't many out & out centre midfielders at the club so I wonder if he's back up for the 1st team.

    At the moment there's Cleverley, Chalobah, Hughes & Garner. Get a suspension or any kind of injury and we're struggling. And with Garner now not getting minutes, will United recall him? Tom Dele-Bashiru is out for a while, Quina isn't really a conventional central midfielder or, arguably, good enough either.

    The U23s only really have Dan Phillips to step up as neither Henry Wise nor JJ McKeirnan will play. Wise isn't up to it sadly and I expect him to be released while JJ is still finding his feet with the U23s. I very much doubt Phoenix Patterson and Lo-Everton would be risked either. Both are ball players but very lightweight right now.

    The U18s have Bosun Lawal & Kamil Conteh but it's too soon to throw them in. Jack Burchill has played there as well as centre-back and Omer Riza said recently he thinks he'll end up as a defensive midfielder but, again, it's just too soon.

    And as I mentioned before, the club know him as he's trialled here in 2019 so he could just be a very cheap short term back up who happened to become available.
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  26. reids

    reids Squad Player

    Yeah it's definitely possible, I think TDB was initially signed for the U23s as well? So would be good to have some cover!
  27. The Recluse

    The Recluse Reservist

    Apologies for being a pedant but somewhere at the back of my head I remember Watford saying Tom D-B was signed for the 1st team.

    I had to check and found this Watford Observer piece ( where it's reported '..The Hornets have specified that the 19-year old has been signed as a first-team recruit.'

    I've also just had a look at the last two 1st team benches and Dan Phillips wasn't included either time, nor was he selected for the latest U23 game. Injury, out going loan or not wanted (contract up in June), we really are short of midfielders with just Garner an option in the middle, Wilmot at a ridiculously long stretch. Tomorrows bench, or maybe the one against QPR, may give us more of an indication as to why Ochieng has been signed.
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  28. reids

    reids Squad Player

    Ah fair play, my bad!

    Interesting, unless he's injured we surely have to be looking at a loan?
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  29. The Recluse

    The Recluse Reservist

    I'm going to assume he (Phillips) is injured and Ochieng is taking his place as first reserve after Garner - he shouldn't be needed but is there just in case.

    If it was a serious injury then maybe a loan would be more sensible so perhaps it's a 2 or 3 week absence at most and the club are using Ochieng as short term cover and then, if this pans out in any way(!), he fills in for Phillips in the U23s so the club aren't flogging to death Lawal, Conteh & Burchell by playing them across two age groups.

    I'm rarely correct with this type of thing so expect two new midfield signings in the next week!!
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  30. The Recluse

    The Recluse Reservist

    Of course, Phillips may have tested for Covid. May explain a short term cover like Ochieng.

    I'll be quiet now!
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  31. The Recluse

    The Recluse Reservist

    Details of the 1-3 defeat to Millwall U18s at the weekend.

    As interesting to see the players not selected as to those who were. No Jack Burchell or Lo-Everton, both capable of playing in centre midfield, which suggests if fit they were earmarked for the U23s on Monday, a game which was ultimately postponed.

    No Tiago Cukur either and Andi Janjeva seems to be missing from games now. George Langston also absent though I wouldn't be surprised if he's now pushed up to the U23s.

    It's also good to see a couple of U16s take their place with the now known George Abbot continuing his good progress. It's difficult to believe he only turned 16 four days ago. One player Simon Clark didn't mention from the U16 group who made it onto the pitch was exciting attacking talent Basilio Rieno Socoliche, who was a late sub for Enoch Muwonge, a player who usually occupies the space between midfield and forwards. Socoliche's name first came up last October and there's a video of him in post #2105
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  32. reids

    reids Squad Player

    Sub trialist was a C. Clark - although InStat says it's Courtney Clark which links to a female footballer from America so not sure what the actual lads name is!
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  33. The Recluse

    The Recluse Reservist

    Leading the way in inclusivity - what a club! :D

    Cheers Reids, I'll see if I can find anything.
  34. The Recluse

    The Recluse Reservist

    I'm sure his name has come up before but I've not listed him anywhere - it just sounds familiar.

    Anyway, it sounds like this could be the fella;
    Courtney Clarke - there's an 'e' at the end of his surname.
    A 17yr old midfielder who plays for Whyteleafe FC who are in the Isthmian League, South East Division (8th tier).

    West Ham and Manchester City have scouted him by all accounts while he also had a trial at Norwich in September 2020.

    Brighton, Millwall & Charlton have also taken a peep at the player who despite his young age had been playing for Whyteleafe's senior side before their season was suspended.

    Described as a marauding box-to-box midfielder in the style of Patrick Viera in a couple of articles I've quickly scanned.

    The Telegraph and The S*n seemed to have been first with the news of interest in him last year.

    edit: A quick edit as he actually comes up on Transfermarkt due to him playing 31minutes for West Hams against Fulham in the U18PL on September 26, 2020. That was a busy month for him as he was on trial with Norwich then too!
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2021
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  35. The Recluse

    The Recluse Reservist

    Who from the forum is going to apply?

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