McKenna: Ipswich is Going to Be a Very Good Place For Young Players to Be Over the Next Few Years
Friday, 25th Mar 2022 15:57
Boss Kieran McKenna believes Town is going to be a very good place for young players over the next few years but stresses the importance of patience.
Departing U23s manager Kieron Dyer cited the lack of a pathway for his youngsters into the first team as among his reasons for resigning from his role earlier in the week.
Quizzed on how he views young players and their importance going forward, McKenna said: “I think the academy has certainly been a very important part of my pathway and my progression to getting here.
“And since I’ve worked in first-team football, certainly our record as a staff at Man United over the last few years, as it has been always at Man United, has been massively towards trusting young players and developing young players.
“That’s something I very much believe in, something that I feel like I have good experience of and a good eye for and a good track record in.
“I think Ipswich is going to be a very good place for young players to be over the next few years, in my opinion, hopefully with the quality of the coaching and development that there’s going to be, the style of play that the first team are going to play that often lends well to young talented players coming into that type of football.
“I think it’s going to be a club that’s hopefully very attractive for young players but as is always the case, it has to be my decision and the staff’s decision on when somebody is ready to make that impact in the first team.
“The timing of that is very important. I think patience in youth development is very, very important for players and for staff. It has to be at the right time, you have to make well-informed decisions about when it’s the moment to stretch and challenge a player and when is the moment to keep working hard behind the scenes.
“I feel like that’s an area that not just myself but also my staff have really good experience in and we’ll look to draw on that experience over the next few years.”
Dyer also said that he feels Cameron Humphreys, 18, is the best midfielder at the club aside from skipper Sam Morsy.
Humphreys, who the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Leeds and Blackburn have all sent representatives to run the rule over this season, hasn’t featured since McKenna took over having made one start and two sub appearances earlier in the campaign.
The likes of Tawanda Chirewa, Elkan Baggott, Albie Armin, Tommy Hughes and Zanda Siziba have also enjoyed impressive seasons for the U23s, who currently top Professional Development League Two South.
“As for the U23s now, there’s a good group of players there that I’ve seen quite a bit of over the last few months but still want to continue to see more of them,” McKenna continued.
“I could name names but I won’t do for now because I think it’s quite a talented batch of players some of whom are 17 years old and 17 years old is very young to make any grand statements about where a player is going to be in a couple of years’ time or where their true level is.
“I think at 17, 18 years old it’s important to work very, very hard on the training pitch, listen to your coaches, develop yourself, be hungry and be ready for opportunities as and when they come.
“I think that’s the most important thing for a player of that age and what our players will be focusing on.
“And from the attitude I’ve seen from the U23 group so far, that’s something that I think they do well and I’ve been very pleased with the interactions I’ve had with that group of players.
“I look forward to seeing more of them, developing more of them and I think the development of high quality young players is going to be a big, big part of the club over the next few years.”
McKenna admits that Dyer’s exit came as a shock: “It was a surprise. I’ve had a good relationship with Kieron in the short time that I’ve been here. I didn’t know him before, but we’ve had some good conversations, he was very welcoming to the club, and he’s a good bouncing board on players in the last couple of months.
“He’s been involved in a few of our training sessions and we’ve been involving him, trying to strengthen that link whenever we can.
“So it did come as a surprise. I’ve had a couple of texts with Kieron over the last couple of days, but I haven’t had too much of an in-depth conversation with him.
“Hopefully, we’ll meet up for a coffee over the next couple of weeks and I can have a chat with him and also just take a little bit more from his experiences at the football club and obviously, he’s a legend of the club as well, so hopefully we’ll continue to stay in touch.
“He obviously has his reasons and I’ll have a conversation with him and understand him that bit more, but from my time at the club, I can only say that we had a positive relationship and obviously wish him the best for the future.”
McKenna says that other than his texts with Dyer he hasn’t caught up with what the former England midfielder has said since his departure.
“I haven’t read that much, to be honest,” he added. “As I said, I had a couple of private texts from Kieron where we haven’t gone into too much, but he said he felt like it was the right time for him to move on.
“I haven’t read too much about what has been said, so I think in respect to him, I’d rather have that conversation with him privately whenever we get a chance.”
Regarding Dyer’s replacement, McKenna says there have been no discussions regarding who might come in with John McGreal having joined the club in a role assisting Dyer late last year.
“There haven’t been too many conversations yet,” he said. “Obviously, it’s only happened this week, so I haven’t had a chance to speak to the club and give my input into that yet.
“Obviously, we’re in a lucky position that we had two very good coaches at that age group with Kieron and John, who has been working with him anyway, and obviously Bryan Klug, who is involved in those age groups as well, so we have good staff there, experienced and highly capable staff within the club.
“Hopefully, the programme will be able to continue seamlessly and keep moving forward in the way that it has been lately.”
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 291 bloggers
Viewpoint: Forest Green Rovers - 06/08/2022 by scants_itfc_88
First three points on the board but we don't make it comfortable for ourselves.
Viewpoint: Bolton Wanderers 30/07/22 by scants_itfc_88
So another season of high hopes and expectations has begun. We always say ‘something’ feels different as we go into a new season.
McKenna's Marvellous Hybrid Formation by DanLyles
“I don’t speak to players a lot about 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3 or 3-5-2 and think it’s about them understanding their roles and responsibilities on the pitch, as well as the spaces we want to attack and where to defend.”
Ipswich Town Polls
[ Vote here ]