Gregor Rioch Interview - Part 2
TIME for the second part of my Gregor Rioch Interview. Here Gregor dives deeper into the development of academy players and the techniques they use to ready a player for the first team.
In an interview in January 2009 with the Coventry Telegraph talking of Ashley Cain, Adam Walker, Curtis Wynter and Jermaine Grandison -
"Not all 4 are ready for first team football at Championship level, although they are ready to dip their toes in the water"
However, they featured heavily in pre-season, and have made appearances this season. Is that testament to how quickly young players develop in such as short space of time?
I think so and I think they've had the opportunity up with the first team on a regular basis since the New Year, the tempo of the training, along with the quality is increased. So you have to move the ball quicker, you have to be aware, the quality has to be better, and I think you do improve when you are around better players. We do have a very good level at u18 level, but they did improve quickly. They earnt themselves contracts, and when I mentioned about dipping their toes in it still really counts in my eyes because they proved they can play at a level, and they did that when they played against Hartlepool in the league cup. When you pull in one or two it's good, but when you put in a group it becomes quite difficult physically and also ability wise at that young age, but in and out, its great experience for them. Then they have to come to an age - come to a time when you have to be ready now for regular first team football, otherwise you don't survive at a championship club. There comes a time with that, when time is - some come quicker than others. Some take until they are 20- 21- 22, and the clubs are usually patient with those ones but sometimes they go away and then come back again.
It must be hard for you to compensate when you don't know what time a player will go up to the first team - do you have to ready the players for first team action at every stage of their development?
I think you can place an example as Andy Cole when he was at arsenal, although he did go for good money to Bristol city, something like 1.3 million. A top player, a top young player who wasn't quite ready for Arsenals first team and had to go away, came back again quite quickly really... maybe a bit of a realisation set in. That I want to go back to the top club, and he did that. Same with ours maybe on a different level, they'll either come through our ranks or maybe go away to come back again. We would like to maybe as a club to send them out on loan now that we've got a slightly bigger squad in the first team - pre-season we had a small first team squad, the manager has brought in a few more bodies now and those that aren't getting regular involvement will probably go out on loan maybe to a division below, maybe 2 divisions below depending on the level and gain a lot of first team experience and that will help them in big ways.
To be continued...