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“We have a clear pathway, 17 or 18 year-olds can play in the first-team and that's unique in the Midlands." Coventry City's Richard Stevens

28 April 2015

The Academy Manager reflects on an exciting year for the Academy as a whole and wants to continue the conveyor belt of young first-team talent...

Coventry City Academy Manager Richard Stevens is delighted how the year has gone for the Sky Blues Academy.

Seven of the Under-18s were offered professional contracts and the club also reached the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup.

Stevens has been impressed with the strides the young players have taken and believes the unique pathway to the first-team makes the Sky Blues a massive club to be at for a young player.

“We’ve offered seven lads contracts this year and every single one of them is richly deserved make no mistake,” Stevens said.

“Everyone has worked out of their skin this year to make the success happen and every single staff member, whether they are part-time or full-time, from the education officer to the physio to the head of recruitment, has really put a shift in and helped make the players who they are, we are really grateful for their hard-work.

“The whole of the Midlands is doing well with young players but we are in a really unique position. There is a clear pathway to the first-team here, you only have to look at the likes of Gael Birigmana, Conor Thomas and Callum Wilson in recent years who have shown that if you have the dedication and attitude to accompany your ability you can get into the first-team, which is slightly more difficult in the Premier League. 

“We have a clear pathway, 17 or 18 year-olds can play in the first-team, George Thomas and James Maddison have proven that this year too and it’s been a really exciting year.”

But the conveyor belt hasn’t stopped there for the Sky Blues, with the club announcing the latest intake of players who will be playing in the Under-18s alongside next year’s second-year scholars. 

The induction day for the new scholars will take place on May 5th and features seven players who have already been at the club and three have been recruited from West Bromwich Albion. 

Stevens added: “I think we’re bringing a really exciting group of players for the staff to work with next year.

“They all have credentials. It’s been a great year for the club in terms of stepping players up, which is our end goal and we’ve had lots of success on the pitch in both the league and the Youth Cup.

“That is our goal for everyone who comes through our Development programme. We’re already looking forward to next season, it promises to be another successful time for the Academy.”

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