Salford City FC Sticking With Tradition on Youth Development

Salford City Football Club have their sights set on climbing the Football League, with home-grown talent a major facet of their blueprint for sustained success.

The Greater Manchester based club gained promotion to League Two for the start of this current campaign, with rapid progress being made since members of Manchester United’s famed class of ’92 took ownership some 5 years ago.

With Gary Neville and David Beckham just two of the Red Devils’ academy graduates now owning a stake in the club, the focus is on nurturing young talent with the potential to follow in their footsteps.

Joe Potts, a goalkeeping coach at Salford City FC, gave an insight to how preparations are made to assist a smooth transition to the first team:

Joe Potts Photo: Matt Austin

“As a club they want to do things the right way.

“Now that we’re into the football league they’re really trying to bridge the gap between players having success at youth level, to them having a real impact on the first team.”

“In the early days of the week we focus on their IDP (Individual Development Programme).

“So, for example, if a goalkeeper is struggling with their distribution, we’ll have them train at different levels right up to the first team in order for them to gain the knowledge and experience needed to come straight in whenever called upon.”

It’s an approach savoured by the academy players as they look to stand out from their peers, believing that an opportunity will come their way if they apply themselves with full commitment.

Sam Twist, a member of Salford’s under-18 squad, explained how the atmosphere around the club compares to teams he’s represented in the past:

“It’s great to be around the first team, we learn a lot from them.

Salford City owners Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville

“I’m always keen to take on board any advice they have to give, it’s always special seeing the likes Paul Scholes turn up and get involved too.

“It’s really motivating just to see the level that they made it to and it really encourages us to push ourselves.”

This notion was shared by one of Twist’s teammates, Callum Burton, who says he relishes the opportunity to compete at a higher level.

“During our individual sessions we get to work on a lot of the things that we feel that we’re struggling with ourselves.

“The chance to mix in with the other lads is quality, trying to make a name for yourself and just improve as much as you can really.”

The club currently lye in a mid table position as they look to establish themselves as an out and out Football League side, but with four promotions in six years under the stewardship of Manager Graham Alexander, an assault on England’s fourth division looks set to come to fruition in the not too distant future.