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New plans for youth set-up

9 May 2013

Coach will be appointed to guide development squad

We are pleased to announce that AFC Wimbledon have decided to create a development squad for 2013/14 that will enable the club’s youngsters to play around 20 games next season.

will also be part of the development squad as they are entering their final second year as scholars after joining as Under-17s following a year at the South Thames College Academy.Kieron Tarbie and Youssouf Bamba. Oluseyi Daley and Chace Jacquart, Tom Beere, Charlie Fayers, revealed that four players from last season’s Under-18s squad will progress into the development set-up on professional contracts. The players selected are as follows: Nigel Higgs, Wimbledon Youth & Community Director, Dons PlayerDuring an in-depth interview for

A senior professional development coach will be appointed in the near future with the specific aim of guiding the development squad in training and development matches against other professional club’s Under-21 squads.

Nigel Higgs (pictured above) believes that creating a clear structure for the development squad next season will help to bridge the gap between the Under-18s and first-team level.

and made a decision about how we are going to move the club forward in terms of ensuring that young players progress towards the first-team,” said Nigel. “As part of this we looked at that critical area when Under-18 scholars finish their apprenticeship schemes and are not quite ready for the step-up to the first-team. We looked at whether we could fill that gap and the club has decided to invest in that area.Neal Ardley“We sat down as a board with

, but the squad will consist of six of our Under-18s from last season and there is the possibility of bringing in players from outside of the right quality. Second-year Under-18s may also fill the squad, along with first-team players that require game-time or young players from Neal’s squad.”Elite Player Performance Plan“It will not exactly be an Under-21s squad under the

The appointment of a coach with sole responsibility for nurturing a development squad and more regular fixtures are changes that Nigel believes will make the plan a success.

(Academy Manager) and the first-team management. Between them they will work out the technical programme and what the players need to achieve as they go through the year with us.Mark Robinson“The coach will focus on ensuring that the games and training programmes are at a sufficient level to progress young players towards the first-team squad,” added Nigel. “The full-time development coach will have responsibility for training these boys under the direction of both

“We tried to do a similar thing with a development squad last season and there were five or six boys that were kept on and played in pre-season friendlies. But we realised that this was not going to work unless they played regular matches at a high enough standard. They need to have a full-time coach, proper pitches to train on and a regular programme of matches. It will be the responsibility of the coach and the academy administration staff to help ensure that there are enough games for them to play in. We are aiming for around 20 matches a season to help prepare these young players for first-team football.”

Nigel thanked the Under-18s players that have left AFC Wimbledon and he wishes them every success in their future careers.

 Dons Player subscribers can now watch the full video interview with Nigel Higgs, in which he talks about the future of Wimbledon’s youth set-up, including meeting the requirements of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP).

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