MARK HUGHES will take a keen interest in the Academy and development of up-and-coming Stoke City talent.
That’s the assertion of Glyn Hodges, who joined the Potters’ Academy set-up this week as their Under-21s coach.
Hodges has worked with Hughes for Wales, Blackburn, Manchester City, Fulham and QPR and says his focus will not solely be on first team affairs.
Hodges exclusively told Stoke City Player: “Mark is very interested in building Clubs; he doesn’t just come in and concentrate on the first team.
“He will be looking to the Academy and what’s going on there and taking a keen interest.
“For me, he plays football the right way – he wants to get the ball on the ground and play which will help these kids progress as young footballers wherever that may be, but hopefully for Stoke City.”
Hodges, who served Wimbledon, Watford and Sheffield United among others in a playing career spanning almost 20 years, checked-in at the Clayton Wood training complex earlier this week and is relishing the opportunity to work alongside Hughes again.
He added: “I’ve been brought in to work with the Under-21s which covers the reserves as well now – it’s to bridge the gap between the first team and the Academy and hopefully work with some of the boys to get them through to the first team.
“It’s an important role; it’s such a big step from the Under-21s to the first team that boys seem to making their debuts later and later.
“We’ll be working with them intensely. Some may need to go out on loan to get some experience, but the goal is to get as many through the system as we can.
“I’m very impressed with the set-up at the training ground. The pitches look good and although there’s still a little bit of building work going on, everything is in place. It’s a great environment and I’m really looking forward to my time with the Club.”