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YOUTH: Plenty there to work with

10 February 2016

An update from youth boss Alan Moore

We caught up with youth boss Alan Moore on Tuesday morning to talk about the Fleetwood game and the recent Youth Productivity Study, as carried out by the Premier League.

"It was disappointing when we heard the Burnley game had been called off," he said. "We'd had two games a week leading up to it so the lads were getting a bit of a rhythm going.


"It wasn't a surprise to get the shout on the Friday evening to say it was off. The weather had been quite heavy and their training ground was flooded, similar to how ours was, so they had all the residue on the pitch.


"Even though it wasn't a surprise it was still disappointing for the lads because it stopped them in their tracks a little bit. We always tell them to treat every training session the same as a game but, no matter what level you're at, the games are more important.


"They build themselves up for match day and that's what every player looks forward to at the end of the week. We can tell them every training session counts but it's still different when you go out and play against different opposition."


But part of the time away from the fixture list was used to good effect when the second years were invited to train with the first team.


"It's good for our lads to get in and train with the professionals when they're asked," he said. "They're always nervous when they do it, no matter when it is, so they do need a bit of time to bed themselves in.


"The atmosphere around the club means they get changed with the first team, so it's good for them to go and listen to how the pro's train on a day-to-day basis.


"It's something we talk to them about all the time but it's totally different when they see it for themselves. It's great for them because it gives them a buzz and it's good for us to see how they react to it."


"We played really well against Fleetwood last weekend," he told us. "We lost goalkeeper Rhys Williams in the warm-up, after he got a bang in the head in training on the Friday, so we had to make a late change. It didn't really affect the performance, we played well, we just aren't putting the ball in the back of the net at this moment in time.


"We had plenty of chances but the goal came from an unlikely source, with Mikey Quigley smashing one in from 20-odd yards. Overall we were pleased with the performance because there is plenty there to work with and more for them to learn. The performance was good and at this level we're happy enough with that.


"Kids being kids, they just want to win the games but you can then lose sight of what you're actually here for in terms of your development in football.


"If we wanted to just win games we could put the ball into the final third and put pressure on teams. If you do that you miss out a whole process of midfielders getting on the ball on the half-turn and forwards having to make two runs before they receive the ball.


"We've got to find a fine balance with making sure we're coaching those aspects of the game and doing what we can to get results. The wins will come because they're playing well, so I'm not really worried about that. 


"We're creating chances without putting them in the back of the net and you wouldn't worry about that at first team level because eventually the wins will come.


"Victories are more for the kids. Vince [Overson] and myself are purely focused on the individuals and their development."


On the disruption caused by the weather to the training schedule, he said: "Getting on grass has been a major issue for us since November. We're basically playing games on grass and training on 3G. 


"I have to say, Annan Athletic have been different class with us. Any time we've wanted to use their facility it's been available, so we're really thankful for that.


"Harraby Community Campus have also been great with us. It's just down the road so it's really handy. The first team have been using that so we're mixing it around when the first team are using other venues. We're also really thankful to them for making that facility available.


"It's been a case of finding where you can go at the moment. We're trying to plan ahead and train where we can. The kids get on with it and as coaching staff we're just adapting to it, because we're used to change within our environment."


The second year group, of course, are also heading towards the end of their youth spell with the club and are having to deal with the added nerves that brings to the mix.


"We're starting to see the nervousness and edginess in the second years creep in," he told us. "They're asking everybody else questions but they won't actually ask me when the decisions will be made.


"We tell them from the start that it's always done as soon as they finish their college work. It doesn't matter how many conversations we have with the lads to tell them to relax and concentrate on their football, it never changes.


"They've always got it in the back of their mind and we have to see how they deal with that extra bit of pressure. It's no different to being at the next level up, on a one-year deal, where you still have to perform week in and week out to convince the manager that you're worth another year. 


"We're constantly looking at potential, but it's also good to see how the lads deal with the pressure psychologically."


On the Youth Productivity Study*, conducted by the Premier League, he told us: "We've recently been given the results of the productivity study which has been conducted for all 92 clubs.


"You can see on our graphs that our club is going up the charts. The study misses out the last couple of years but the useful thing is that it goes back 12 years. There's a clear incline in our graph which shows we're producing more and more players for first team football, whether they go on to do that here, or at other clubs.


"It shows the department is doing what it should be doing, and to be in the top half of all 92 clubs is a major achievement.


"It was one of the reasons that coming up to Carlisle was a challenge I relished. The board set out a remit for us to produce players and the club is fully focused on the youth department and getting players through.


"It's a challenge for us and it's also great to know that people want local players to come through. Our long term plan is to have half of the first team squad of 18 players made up of local lads who come through the youth department. It's a common goal through the football club so it's great to see the stats are starting to back that up.


"Every season is challenging for different reasons at our level. Whether it's venues or players producing then not producing ... they're all challenges. We welcome it and we will keep striving to get the best from our group."


United v Fleetwood: Bacon, Hurley, Pearson, Taylor, Groves, Robson, Salkeld, Holt, Bradbury, Quigley, Brown (Hall 60). Subs - Rudd, Breen, Egan.


Goal - Quigley.


+++++++


*The Productivity Study showed that Carlisle United were placed 79th of the 92 clubs for productivity in 2003/04 and 58th of the 72 Football League clubs.


In season 2006/07 we were placed 72 of 92 and 51 of 72.


In season 2009/10 we were placed 67 of 92 and 46 of 72.


In season 2012/13 we were placed 58 of 92 and 41 of 72.


As you can see the club has a continuing upward trend in terms of productivity - the production and development of young players.


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