From the Academy

Last weekend was a good example of what working in a Premier League Academy is like.

On Saturday our U16 and U18s played Derby County away. Some of our regular starters were unavailable through injury, both Jahmal hector-Ingram and Josh Pask weren’t quite fit so we decided to play Idris Kanu, he is only just 15 years-old.

Overall we had a very young team, particularly in defence where Declan Rice played alongside Tunji Akinola while we had Vashon Neufville and Jake Eggleton too.

Despite losing, I thought we were excellent. In parts we were very, very good which is very encouraging. No doubt it will be a good experience for them and they’ll learn a lot from it.  

The U18s match kicked off at 12 o’clock, straight after that Dave Hunt and I moved on to Burton to watch Reece Oxford play for England U17s against Norway.

It was a good for win for England, and Reece played very well. On Monday night he followed that up when England played against Slovenia and he scored a terrific goal.

When you watch him play, you do think ‘we’ve got one of the best players England have got at that age level, if not the best’. He’s captain, he leads his team and it was a terrific two games for him.

Bearing in that mind that he had just come back from injury, hats off to him for being able to go straight into the national side and play so well.  

As well as Reece, Sam Howes has called up for the England U18 squad for their two games with Switzerland, which is another great achievement. Funnily enough, he’ll come up against our very own Noha Sylvestre, a very talented central midfielder, later today. It should be a good game, and I wish both of them the very best.

On Tuesday we had a group of U17s head off to Dubai for an international tournament. The Premier League sends one club each year, and this year they sent us. It’s great pedigree for our staff, the players and the Academy as a whole.

James Rowe, the Assistant Academy Director is taking that group along with Tom Smith, Lee Harrison and Josh Ewens. It will be a wonderful experience for everyone, the likes of Josh Pask and Grady Diangana are going as well as Vashon and some of the other players who we’re offering scholarships to.

I think the games will be very tough. Manchester City went there with all their riches and didn’t win a game.

On another note, 15-year-old Anthony Scully was awarded U15 Player of the Year by
the Republic of Ireland FA a few days ago. It’s great for him to be recognised at national level.

He’s actually injured at the moment with a thigh injury so he’s out for a few weeks and he’s itching to be back playing. It’s a great achievement for the boy, and funnily enough his dad, Tony Scully, won the same award many years ago!

All the best, 

Terry Westley