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"This is the only football club in England which has a clear path-way to the first-team." - Coventry City Under-18s' Darren Murray

30 April 2014

City Under-18s manager Darren Murray has also praised Steven Pressley and Neil MacFarlane as he reviews his first season at City...

Coventry City Under-18s manager Darren Murray has claimed City is 'the best club to be at for young players in the country' having seen many Academy players progress into the first team.

The Under-18s side finished 6th in the Professional Development League 2 after a progressive season under new manager Murray.

Murray left his role as Player Development Manager at Scottish Premiership outfit Hearts in October to manage City's Under 18s side as well as providing assistance at development squad level.

In an exclusive interview with Sky Blues Player as he reviewed the Academy season, the Scot believes no other club in the country can boast the path-way to the first team which Coventry City has.

Murray said: "I watched Hearts play on Sunday against Hibernian and nine of their players were from the Academy. If we can get to anything like that at Coventry, I'd be delighted.

"I need to get our Academy players mentally and tactically ready to meet the demands of first-team football. If I'm being honest, this is the only football club in England which has a clear path-way to our first-team.

"There are other clubs who will be able to offer young players better facilities, luxury coach travel and other things which have monetary value which won't be able to offer but this is the place to be.

"There is an Under-18s squad and a first-team squad, that's it. Steven Pressley and Neil MacFarlane are devoted to bringing through young players and that isn't going to change.

"If you're a young player, you can go to a Premier League club where you'll have very little chance of getting into the first-team or you can come to Coventry City where you have a very good chance of playing for the first-team."

Murray was working with the first-team at Heart of Midlothian when he left the club in October, having worked with every level at the Edinburgh club.

Having moved from a Scottish Premiership side to an English League One club, Murray said the chance to work with Pressley and MacFarlane was one of the main reasons he moved south of the border.

He added: "I look at it as a step back to propel forward. One of the most important things was the faith the gaffer, Neil MacFarlane and Steve Waggott showed in me.

"It is always a nice feeling when you're wanted and if I'm honest, there wasn't much more I could have done at Hearts. I'd worked with both the Academy side and the first-team during my time there.

"I wanted to challenge myself and I knew I could do the job up there. It is a different animal coming down to England and for my own development, working with the gaffer and Neil has been so beneficial in terms of my education.

"The challenge of moving the club forward with a first-team based around it's young players was one which I couldn't miss out on and we're on the way to achieving that.

"It is also important to thank all the backroom staff; Roberto Ciuffini, Jason Farndon, Stephen Corner, Mike Reid, Tony Shiels and all the Academy staff for all their hard-work and professionalism this season. It has been a great help."

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