Bolton Wanderers are delighted to announce that the club’s academy has been ranked top of the standings in terms of productivity out of the 72 English Football League sides and second out of all 92 EFL and Premier League clubs.
The measurement of productivity includes all player production by football clubs including players developed at clubs that are now playing for other sides elsewhere between the seasons of 2013/14 and 2016/17.
And speaking following the announcement, Jimmy Phillips – Head of Academy at BWFC – said, “This is a great achievement for everybody concerned with the academy, especially as this result takes into consideration all the Premier League Academies whose budget can be more than ten times the amount we spend.
“This season, with the appointment of Julian Darby as Under-16s coach and Dave Gardiner in the Head of Coaching role, I think we have gone from strength to strength.
“We’re hoping that the next players getting their opportunities to play in our first team squad won’t be too far away with our Under-18s and Under-23s top of their leagues, so the future is looking extremely bright.
“There is also a lot of good work going on in the schoolboy programme here at Bolton Wanderers from Under-9 to Under-16 level."
He continued, “Under the watchful eye of Paul Wroe, we’ve recruited five boys this year at Under-14 level, which we also think is a key area.
"If we can get the recruitment right in that age group, it’ll see us through to Under-15s and 16s and then from there, we can select our scholars.
“It’s an area we’ve continued to improve year-on-year, and that means that when they do get into the U18s and U23s, a lot of the hard work has been done and it’s a case of the final polishing process to be completed.”
Reflecting on the players who have broken through in recent years to help the club to achieve this recognition meanwhile, Phillips added, “We’ve had a number of lads who have made the grade at first team level like Josh Vela who is a regular now, while the consequent sales of Rob Holding and Zach Clough have helped the club financially.
“We are hoping that the likes of Jake Turner who has represented England, Luca Connell who has represented Ireland and Dennis Politic who has played for Romania can all go on to do the same.
“We’ve got some players that have been the best pick to represent their country and we’re delighted to have them, so we need to make sure we firmly keep their feet on the ground but continue to develop them as well.”
Aside from footballing matters meanwhile, investment from Bolton Wanderers Development Association (BWDA) have seen the Academy retain its Category Two status with the construction of the domed training facility and new gymnasium which is used by all age groups across the football club.
And these additions have only played their part in ensuring that Bolton Wanderers maintains its high standards in terms of its production line of players, according to Phillips.
“When you look around the training ground, we’ve got great facilities in regards to the number of pitches, the all-weather facility and the construction of the indoor dome just in December which has been a fantastic lift for everyone, particularly as we’ve probably had the coldest winter for the last few years,” he explained.
“We’ve also got a great working relationship with the first team management and the Under-18s train with the first team on a weekly basis.
“Other clubs have invested more over the last number of years, but what we perhaps lack in terms of state-of-the-art changing facilities, we certainly make up for in a strong coaching programme and the way the schoolboy coaches interact with the players I think is second to none.
“That said however, it is a fantastic achievement by Andrew Dean and the rest of his team that they’ve managed to raise the necessary funding required so we could get the dome erected.
“The first team, the Under-23s and all the schoolboy teams have certainly felt the benefits already and hopefully towards the future it will benefit us even more as we look to retain our status in the productivity scale.”
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