Academy manager Alan Moore on Burnley and Hammell
Academy manager Alan Moore gave us his reaction to the weekend home defeat against Burnley.
“It was one of those games where the lads played well in between the two boxes,” he said. “We had a couple of decent individual performances, which we like to see, and we did some good things.
“The score line didn’t flatter Burnley at all. They were outstanding on the day and it was probably one of the best performances I’ve seen for a good while from a youth team. We couldn’t deal with them at all but it was a good learning curve for us. They were at full strength and they played to their maximum, so they were very tough opponents.”
“We were four down by half time and the team talk was used to remind the lads that we’re after good individual and collective performances,” he explained. “We want to be able to put the result aside and inform the manager that players have done well.
“It can never be about results. Burnley have a very similar approach to ourselves because they focus on player development as well. They are very much about progressing players, so a result for them, as for us, is getting someone into the first team environment.
“Being honest, you don’t like losing games but, as long as there is something to take from every 90 minutes, you come away happy. As I say, Burnley were different class and they are a benchmark for us. They are a category 3 club, again like us, but they’re looking to step up to category 2.”
“The lads had a week of training before the game, following their short break, and they all looked in good condition,” he told us. “Sometimes in youth football you come up against a team that is better than you are, and all you can do is hold your hands up and admit it.
“We’re into what is a very important period for the second years and they’ve been edgy about it for a while. They read a lot into who trains where, who is invited along to work with the first team, and things like that, and I’m sure it must drive them mad.
“We did the reviews just before Christmas, and we invited the parents to come and talk to us. That allowed us to update them all on where we see them at this moment in time. That’s of great benefit to everybody.”
“It comes down to managing the individuals and their expectations as well as you can,” he added. “Connor Hammell is a good example of that. I had to speak to him last Thursday when he found out he wasn’t travelling with the first team to Newport.
“He’d had the ultimate high of coming on at half time in the home game, followed by the ultimate low of finding out he wasn’t in the squad. That’s just football. And with the youth side of it, nobody cares where you played the Saturday before once you get out on the pitch in an U18 game.
“I spoke to him about all of that because it is tough for the young lads when they get a taste of first team football only to then have to come back to us. It can feel like the end of the world for them, but they just have to learn that it’s part and parcel of the game.”
On the news that the club has this week achieved Category 3 Academy status, he said: “It’s all been passed and confirmed now. We had a few little bits and pieces we had to present for reassessment, but I went down to London just before Christmas to meet with the auditors. They have responded to say that the process has now been completed.
“That’s great from a club point of view. It gives the academy side of the business stability for the next three or four years. We’ll get assessed regularly, as you would expect, but this now gives us the chance to get our processes running as smoothly as we can. It’s been a huge pat on the back for all of the coaching and recruitment staff because they’ve done a lot of work to get us to this stage.
“I look at this as a two year process, so we should be well into it by the time we start to think about reapplying and requalifying. It also means we can run a full programme, from U9 to U18, and I think that’s vitally important. We’ve said it before, but you just need to look at Brough, Dempsey and now Hammell to see what it can produce.”
“With that in mind, we’ve had all of the current U16 lads in to train with us so we can get a good look at them,” he concluded. “They have a feel for the standard we’re after and they know what we’re looking for. We’ll keep doing that and we should start to get a clear picture of what we need to do, in terms of our youth team recruitment, as we go through the next few months.”
United – Eccles, Moyes, Pearson (Hurley 45), White, Douglas, Robson, Blackburn, Quigley (Holt 75), Hall (Bradbury 45), Hammell, Elliott. Subs – Fowler, Taylor.
Next up – Wigan Athletic v United, Saturday 10 January, kick off 11am
United Player subscribers can see a video interview with Alan Moore now. Click HERE to go to the Player platform. Follow the same link for more information on United Player, and to subscribe.
to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.