In line with many other clubs in England, the changes in Youth Development will have a major effect on Wigan Athletic. With the new Under 21 League kicking off this weekend, a special interview with club Chief Executive Jonathan Jackson outlines exactly how these changes will reflect on us.
Wigan Athletic’s Centre of Excellence has been replaced with a new Wigan Athletic Football Academy and the transition is being spearheaded by former captain Matt Jackson, while other former club captains Neill Rimmer, Peter Atherton and Kevin Langley will also be involved, alongside current Youth Team Coach John Doolan and Development Squad coaches Graham Barrow and Dennis Lawrence.
The club has initially applied for Category 2 status, with a view to operating a Category 1 status academy in the near future. This will see the club aim to produce players capable of competing for the side in the Barclays Premier League in the long term, as well as upgrading the facilities for our young talent.
“There is much work to do”, says Chief Executive Jonathan Jackson: “The changes affect every aspect of the club and will really revolutionize the way that the club attempts to coach and bring through young talent from an early age right through to the age of 21, including recruitment, coaching, facilities, technical analysis and education.
“We want to create a real structure to enable players to be nurtured and developed in the same way throughout their football education at the club.
“Already, we are seeing some buds start to flourish with the likes of Callum McManaman, Jordan Mustoe, Danny Redmond and Lee Nicholls finding a pathway through to the first team squad, plus Roberto Martinez is bringing in fresh young talent from abroad with the likes of Roman Golobart, Edu Campabadal and Guillermo Andres (Spain), Nouah Dicko (France), Filip Orsula (Slovakia), Rob Kiernan (Ireland) and Jamie McCormack (Scotland).
“But this is only the start, as we continue to develop over the coming months and years, we hope that Wigan can become a spawning ground for quality youth development.
“Whereas in the past, our Centre of Excellence teams were competing against other Centre of Excellence teams, the fixtures this season include Leicester City, Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United, Leeds United, Derby County and Birmingham City. The bar has been raised significantly and it is a very exciting time for our club. We are determined to rise to the challenge.”
Find out more.....
[Click Here] for the Elite Player Performance Plan explained.
[Click Here] for how the changes will affect Wigan Athletic.