New City Under 18s coach says the Sky Blues' current approach to developing youngsters is the way forward
New Sky Blues Under 18s coach Darren Murray has said that Coventry City is the place to be for young, hungry talents with aspirations of first team football.
Murray, 43, has just been handed the reins of the club's Under 18s following his departure from Scottish top flight club Hearts and he says the major deciding factor on his decision to move south of the border is first team manager Steven Pressley's attitude towards bringing young players through.
Murray and Pressley crossed coaching paths during the City boss' time at Falkirk while Murray was development officer at Hearts.
The pair's shared footballing philosophy sparked a professional friendship which has culminated in Murray now being in charge of the City Academy's oldest group of young talents.
Murray's arrival coincides with the start of the Under 18s' FA Youth Cup campaign away at Crewe Alexandra on Monday night, but while he will be taking a step back for that game he says he is excited about getting stuck into a new challenge at a club he describes as 'the place to be' for young footballers.
"The manager's attitude and approach to the club's younger players is absolutely one of the deciding factors to my decision to join this club," Murray said.
"This football club is the place to be in my eyes in developing young players. I observed a first session with the Under 18s following my arrival and there you have the manager, Neil MacFarlane, Ian Foster and Gregor Rioch and you cannot underestimate the effect it has on your younger players knowing that the first team manager is taking an active interest in your day-to-day development.
"To have a manager so involved with young players must be fantastic and this really is a place where I want to come to work because if you're a club that wants to develop your own then this is the way forward."
Murray comes to Coventry City with a proven track record in youth development at Hearts and he added that he was excited at the prospect of helping create a synergy between the Under 18s, Under 21s and the first team to develop a clear path for the club's young footballers.
"Doing that makes it so much easier for your younger players to come through because they know what is expected of them and the transition is alot smoother.
"You have to mirror what the first team do because if the Under 18s and Under 21s can do that, mirror the philosophy and the way the first team are playing, their pressing and game model then it makes it a very easy jump and filters all the way down through the age groups."
Although Murray has yet to take a game for the Under 18s he finished by saying the Under 21s' performance in the 2-1 home defeat to Birmingham City excited him but also meant that players have now set standards they have to keep.
"Everybody wants to win games. If they say they don't they're lying but watching the Birmingham game was extremely encouraging. We had a side exclusively of teenagers match up against what was effectively a Birmingham reserve side and they did extremely well.
"It's my job to make sure they take the kind of desire and application they showed then and bring that onto the training pitch every day."