Inside Andy Goldie's methods as Swans academy enters new era"We could rest on our laurels given the success we’ve had so far or we could push the boundaries again. "It’s in our nature to push the boundaries. " It's March 2022, and Andy Goldie is painting out his vision for Dundee United's efforts for youth development. At the time, the club had announced plans to re-develop the academy facilities at the club's Gussie Park complex, the latest crowning achievement in a hugely successful three-year stint.
"So there's definitely players there who can get to a very high level. Andy probably could get his hands on players who will eventually go on to play in the Champions League. He's certainly very good at polishing rough diamonds into gems, so I certainly don't think it's beyond the realms of possibility. " The Champions League, barring a truly remarkable and unprecedented rise, is unlikely to be within the grasp of Swansea any time soon, but Goldie is clearly already looking upwards in his new role. He said recently: “The purpose is very obvious, you look at the success of the Welsh national team, the number of academy graduates we have in that squad. It adds a bit of pressure but, if anything, we want to build on that.
Goldie's predecessor Jon Grey, who is set to return to his natural habitat on the training ground as part of this latest reshuffle, recently outlined some of the challenges the academy has faced in recent years, and indeed some of the ambitions for the future. You can read more about that here. Even after losing its Category One status, there is a weight of expectation on the shoulders of anyone who walks through the door at Landore.
"Kerr Smith, who recently signed for Aston Villa, was only 16 when he made his Dundee United debut. Worth well over a million pounds. "If they're getting a shot in the first team at 16, 17, he's obviously setting them up well. "There's a few in the first team right now too. Ross Graham, the central defender, there's a lot of clubs looking at him now. There's young Rory MacLeod, who's 16 and Rangers have tried to sign, while several Premier League clubs are also interested.
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How they want them to play. There's a lost of individual work. There's no stone left unturned really. They look to improve their weaknesses and make them better and stronger psychologically. So a lot happens on an individual level after the normal training on the training pitch. "I think he's quite similar to Martin in the way he sees the academy players coming through. A lot of them are very good technically. Very good on the ball. Pass and move that sort of thing.
We’ll work closely with the FAW to maintain that success. “You can see there’s real ambition amongst the staff to produce even better-quality players than what we’ve produced in the past. “I think when you’ve got a manager like Russell Martin, who plays in the style that aligns with what I believe in, that can be a really powerful thing. ” Martin's footballing philosophy has been dragged further under the microscope following a lukewarm start to the season, but he remains admirably steadfast in his belief in the process - a process that places huge emphasis on the importance of the collective, from the first team all the way down to through the age grades.
At times at Dundee United they've been had to be pragmatic and very defensive, which didn't really help a lot of the young players coming through, but last season under Tam Courts, they played a lot more football. "A lot of what they do now is based on playing good football and that probably fits in with Swansea's philosophy. " Developing players for success on the pitch is one thing, but there's another more pointed reason why the Scot might well have proved an attractive proposition to the Swans. The financial impact of relegation from the Premier League has been pretty well documented, with Swansea having to sell various items of the family silver in order to plug the holes in their finances.
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READ MORE:Russell Martin addresses pressure concerns as Swansea City boss outlines reasons behind impending pair of exits Under his tenure, United would break their record for their youngest player three times, while last season alone saw an impressive 16 academy products make the step up to the first team. Fast forward five months or so, and the man who once helped develop Chelsea star Bill Gilmour is this week starting work at one of Welsh football's most fruitful talent factories. There's little point in further emphasising the success of Swansea's academy over the years. To do so would only be for the benefit of those living under a rock. And even then, the chances are they've at least heard of Joe Allen.
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