Is the academy still producing?


Was just thinking today about how few players seem to be coming through the academy and establishing themselves in the first team of late.

We currently have Roberts and Kinsella but they had both been on the fringes for a long time.

The likes of Morris, Preston and Bakayoko all came through a few years ago now, but who has there been recently?

Is this another area where the club has stagnated or regressed?


WE have an academy?? Someone should have said.
Perhaps Keates’s huge backroom staff pretend to be academy players, they seem to do f’all else!


I posted this same question last week within another thread - it does make you question if we are even bothered with developing young talent these days (there’s little in the press ref any exciting young players coming through etc.)


Any idea what side of the supposed 50/50 budget split youth development falls under?


We used to have a young goalscoring striker with a great name like Romario Rosario (or something like that!) Does anyone know what happened to him? We’re only talking 3 or 4 years ago if memory serves me correctly!


You will always get peaks and troughs with the quality of each crop of youngsters, but it does make you worry its all part of the general state of the club.


The youth set up is currently a waste of time and money. We don’t have a big budget but we don’t seem to be spending it very well.


Doesn’t matter anyway if you don’t play them when they are on the fringes or fall out with them


Absolutely not!


I felt a couple of years ago we had a youth side winning leagues and cups. I was looking forward for the likes of Roberts, Kinsella, Sangha, Candlin, Hayles-Docherty and Cockerill-Mollett coming through. It all seems to have stalled.


Nobody is producing. We are â– â– â– â–  from top to bottom.


3/4 years ago the academy was brilliant had a couple of lads on a months trial there and went along to watch.saw 3 age groups under 14 15 and 16 and they all played great football all one and 2 touch stuff just like the first team at the time under Smith.A lot of things seem to have gone down the pan and been neglected since he left like the so called club ethos and philosophy whats happened to that? we have reverted back to loans journeymen and hoofball the past 2/3 years.


Certainly stagnated in recent times.

Wouldn’t scrap it though. Every club that invests in youth system has lean times.

Edit: Don’t think loan system is used well enough. Someone like Maz Kouyhar played a little bit last year in league one so but obviously not fancied by DK as he’s not played a single game in league one. Why has he not been loaned out into the national league? Don’t understand him gathering dust here.

When Morris was coming through he was loaned out to Wrexham, kicked on and then Smith started using him properly in 15/16 when he was good.


I agree and at the moment we are in a trough. We invest lots of money into the academy and at the moment it looks like we are not getting much of a return but that can easily change so lets hope we have a couple of gems we haven’t heard of yet. I know some people would get rid of it but it is part of the Club’s commitment to the Community which I think is important especially at the moment where we need as many links as possible with the local community.


The academy can only do so much. I’d also ask the question of the local scouts. Do they even have any. You can have the best academy in the world but it doesn’t matter if you are not attracting decent talent.

The managers need to take some of the responsibility too. Roberts is the only one that seems to have been given the game time and even then his development has gone backwards.


they didnt up until about 18 months ago the 2 lads we had on trial where recommended to them by there schools coached sunday league kids football for 5 years saw plenty of stoke albion and villa scouts during that time and being 100% honest never Walsall and this was the Walsall junior youth league. never understood it myself could have changed since Dean took over as he Wayne thomas and Lee naylor where all scouted from the same club forest star back in the day.


Academy, or youth system, looked good, when there was a person, who knew how. Dean Smith hasn’t been replaced (as head of youth), so all his philosophy is not working too. Maybe someone finds it funny, but he was like Pep Guardiola on this level, when we consider youth development, clear plan how to introduce young players to the adult footy world. When he’s gone, probably no one knows how to do it. Scouts? I don’t think it is a big problem. There are four, presumably bigger clubs in the same city. So it was and it is very hard to scout someone really decent. But few League One level players every 2-3 seasons? That shouldn’t be too difficult, but it looks it is. Really, I’m not that surprised. You need to pay to know how.


You could argue that without a decent club/team structure and strategy, a development system is pointless because there’s not much to aspire to and frankly, if you were a parent of a youngster with talent why would you want that being supposedly nurtured by a club with such little leadership and direction!!!

It’s just another element of the systematic ignorance and arrogance from the current regime/board that’s allowed the club to become rotten…


The kouhar situation is quite unfathomable. Unless nobody was prepared to take him on loan (surely someone inbth the conference would?) then what on earth is he still doing at the club, so far from the first team squad? He actually looked like he had some promise at times last season so what’s happened? Now is when he should be pushing on and getting a few more minutes on the pitch.


Not sure you are correct on that point. Lads often come to Walsall because they know if they show promise they can get quickly into league football. It is really only this season that we have taken on younger loanees who seem to have replaced our own young lads. We don’t know the reason for that. Is it that DK doesn’t rate any of them? If so then you can expect about 10 of them to go in the Summer whilst the next group are brought through.The Youth team have had a poor season this year and it may be that only one or two will be taken on. I still think however that having an academy is the right thing for a Club like Walsall.