Just a quick post today detailing some of the stand outs of the first youth intake of my time in charge of Aberdeen.
Before we dive in, a quick reminder underlining the importance of each youth intake. In this restructured Scottish database, I need to have a minimum of 8 players in the matchday squad that have been trained in Scotland, and a minimum of 3 completely homegrown players from the club. Really hitting home the importance of having everything in place, in terms of the right environment, to bring through youth prospects. The only down side being that youth players need to be registered in our 25 man squad for the league, thus potentially cutting down on their potential game time early on.
First up, our brightest prospect.
Andrew Clark is a promising left back, and our coaches agree with 3 and a half star potential ability. Could he be the long term successor to Graeme Shinnie at left wing back? He’s got a good level of stamina to get up and down the left flank, and a good initial level of pace. He’s been put on a training routine to train as a complete wing back to start him off. His balanced personality isn’t the best available, but at least it’s not negative. I’m really exciting to see how he progresses.
If one thing was clear from my previous Morton save, it’s that Scotland certainly has the potential to produce a long string of really promising strikers. Aiden Hay is no different, decent pace, great acceleration, and a good starter attribute for finishing. He’ll no doubt progress well, and he’s got the ambition to succeed. He’s training as a complete forward, and if it wasn’t obvious by now, my preference for training schedules if I want players to develop is to put them on the one that trains the most attributes. Complete forward, complete wing back, box to box midfielder. It might not be the ‘correct’ way to do it at all, but it’s just a personal preference. After a sufficient amount of time on that schedule, they’ll go onto a more focused schedule to improve an attribute I consider important for that player, and most probably then go out on loan, or be ready for first team action.
A big part of my tactic is inside forwards, so John Graham has instantly been put on a schedule to train as a inside forward on the right. He’s got pace and acceleration which I obvious look for in wide men, and he’s got a huge amount of flair, and at 5ft3, he’s going to be my mini-mini Messi. Hopefully he develops well, but my coaches aren’t convinced.
Those are the brightest prospects to come through our youth intake. However, I went looking around other clubs in Scotland for other players that’d just come through too. The following three players will all arrive in the summer for compensation fees.
Always good to have a young central defender prospect at the club, and with none with promise coming through our intake, I raided Clyde for Darren McDonald. Our domestic scout isn’t convinced, but I’m hopeful we’ll see him develop relatively well.
I’ve got really high hopes for Grant Hamilton, could he eventually challenge Ryan Jack for the DM slot? I’ve raided Clyde again, but again, our domestic scout claims he won’t be a worthwhile signing. A good tackler, relatively strong and really quite aggressive. I believe he could challenge Jack in the long term.
We saw John Graham come through our youth system for the right inside forward slot, meaning I wanted a prospect for the left inside forward slot too. John Mitchell at Raith looked to me like he could develop well with some work. Pacy, great team player with not bad passing.
The development of youth players versus chasing domestic success and good performances in Europe is something I’ve really struggled with in past saves. The rough principles for this save will look to eventually have the two go hand in hand. It’ll take time, but I’m confident. Our youth facilities are current deemed ‘adequate’ but I’ve managed to secure an upgrade already. It’ll be completed in late October.