Youth Development at Turf Moor

Last updated : 10 April 2016 By The Editor's Chair
Writing purely from a personal point of view, I have a genuinely sneaky feeling that our current Burnley Football Club Youth Development programme, is nothing more, nor nothing less  than a "vanity project".
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Burnley Football Club have announced that they are delighted to welcome the 2016 Youth Team’s new intake. Ten new youngsters have signed scholarships at Turf Moor. 

The pre-scholars will link-up with the current first-year scholars in the summer to form the new Youth Team, and will compete in the 2016/17 Northwest Youth Alliance. 

Adam Bruce and Marcel Wusiewicz join Connor King in the goalkeeping department, while defenders James Clarke, Leighton Egan, Kwazinkosi Mpofu, Scott Wilson and Oliver Younger are added to the defence. 

Midfield duo Tristen Jumeau and Samuel Layton have also penned two-year deals, with forward Dwight McNeil bolstering the Burnley strike force. 

Burnley are keen to stress that nine out of the 10 prospects have come through the Burnley Academy. This is a feature that Clarets' Academy Manager Jason Blake is delighted with. 

Blake commented, “Firstly I’m delighted to welcome the new scholars for next season, and it’s a really positive sign moving forward that all but one of the players have come through the Academy. 

“That shows the talent we have in the Academy and in the group and all of them know there is a lot of hard work ahead of them, but individually we know we have some very good players in the age group. 

“Over the last couple of years there has been a lot of work gone on behind the scenes that doesn’t get seen, or perhaps acknowledged, but we feel a large percentage of players coming through the Academy could be a regular occurrence". 

“It may not be to this percentage every season, but we think we have some very good schoolboys coming through the programme, and it’s a very exciting time for the Academy. 

“The nine players who have come through the Academy, eight come from the North West, which shows we try to maximise our catchment area.” 

The 10 newcomers will make next season’s Youth Team squad eighteen strong. The revised total includes three goalkeepers, resulting in ultra keen competition for places. 

Blake went on to add, “In addition to our U18's Youth Alliance fixtures, we have an extensive U21's programme that Development Squad manager Michael Jolley has put in place, allowing for opportunities to arise there". 

“We also have several U17's fixtures that occur fortnightly, which again offers more vital game time to all of the squad. It also offers that to the U16's coming through, and with the option of loan football, like we have seen this season, plenty of game time will be on offer. 

“Apart from game time, the U17's fixtures were created this season for the development of the U16's players who exceeded in their age group and needed a higher level to play at, and some of the U16's even played for the youth team.” 

Blake commented further, “We have started offering scholarships to players who are a little bit younger than in previous seasons, which shows how strong we think the players coming through are". 

“We believe the crop coming in this year are talented, and they are also great characters which is equally as important, but we also have high hopes for the younger players too". 

“Just like the U16's playing in the U17 fixtures, U15's are playing out of their age group for the U16's and have already been offered a scholarship, so even underneath the full-time environment there is a lot of good work going on and there are exciting players coming through.”
Sounds like a whole lot of gobbledegook to me! Where is the next Jay Rod? (TEC).
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