An interesting Q & A with the manager
An in-depth interview with Neal Ardley included a revealing section when he answered questions from supporters about the future.
, our Vice President read out questions from supporters after an appeal on the official website. The first question from a fan was about bringing through youngsters and asked for an estimate of how long it would be before “three or four home-grown” talents were regularly playing in the first-team.Neal’s StoryDuring the extensive interview by Iain McNay, which can be viewed by clicking on
In response, Neal said: “I cannot give a definite answer on three or four. I believe next season that Tom Beere and Will Nightingale if they stay injury free will give themselves a chance of being more regular. They are both third year professionals and are physically, mentally and tactically developed. In the following season there may be more to add to those.
“When I first arrived over two years ago we never really had an Under-21s set-up. I spoke to Erik Samuelson and said that we had to invest in that area. We got Shaun North in and he did a fantastic job and now Alan Reeves has taken it on again. We are bearing the fruits of that now. Mark Robinson and Jeremy Sauer had a bit of a golden generation coming through. They are second year apprentices now and they won quite a few tournaments in younger age groups.
“The hardest gap to bridge for any young footballer is from the age of 18 to 21. They go from playing in younger age groups against players who are not going to make it and then step-up to men’s football. They are expected to get closer to the first-team, but physically and mentally they are not ready. I think it is going really well for us now.”
The interview with Neal Ardley offers an interesting insight into his playing days at Wimbledon, the circumstances on why he left the Dons, and returning as manager. The section including questions from supporters starts at around 91 minutes in, which shows that it deserves to be called an in-depth interview!
Neal (far right) is pictured with Ryan Sweeney (second from right) and Dan Gallagher (middle) after they signed professional deals. Academy Manager Jeremy Sauer (far left) and Under-18s Manager Mark Robinson are also in the picture.