Feature: Blackpool Academy Update

This week we move away from the Under-18s to take a look at how some of the other academy teams have fared this season. Simon Wiles, who is the Lead Youth Development Phase Coach, spoke about his work with the teams and how they’ve been getting on so far.

“I oversee the under-13s up to the under-16s so I monitor the coaches and make sure the lads are putting on the sessions that we want them to put on to help the lads in the academy make it all the way through to the under-16s and hopefully get scholarships.”

There have been some great results for the sides, such as the under-13 team beating Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers.

“Across the whole phase – 13s, 14s, 15s and 16s, things have been very successful. We’ve won a lot more than we’ve lost throughout the whole age groups. They are all strong teams which is great.

“Things are looking promising and I’m pleased with the way things are going. I wouldn’t necessarily say that anything jumps out at me that needs improving.

“Obviously we’re looking to get the new training ground which will be great but the setup at Myerscough College is brilliant for the academy.”

The current crop of under-16 players is an exceptionally strong squad, with seven players being offered scholarships and some of them have already made their debut for the under-18s.

“We’ve offered seven scholarships out to the under-16s which is brilliant for the club and academy because we don’t have to look elsewhere to get players in because we’re developing good players in through the system.

“To get seven players through the academy into the youth team for next year and to have lads in the under-16s playing in the youth team this season already is brilliant.

“The biggest thing for me in my role is that the Head of Coaching, Head of the Academy and John Murphy are looking at our under-16s and picking lots of them.”

Wiles is aiming high and wants the future generations to get seven scholarships each year to emulate the achievements of this season.

“For me that’s the benchmark now so next year I’m taking a look at the under-15s and thinking I want Ciaran to come and take seven players again. I look at the under-14s and it’s exactly the same. I think there’s a lot of good players that have a really good chance of doing what this year’s under-16s have done.”

Times have changed since 2003 when Wiles signed for Blackpool as a trainee with the players in the modern age receiving more individual support.

“Each player gets given a weekly target that we work through during training, we have individual work and always getting reviews. When I came through the Blackpool academy at the age of 13 we didn’t have anything like that so it’s a massive bonus

“There’s a lot of talented boys and we’ve got to make sure that we’re coaching them right and giving them to right ingredients.”

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