Owen Sets Out Targets

Gareth Owen

GARETH OWEN hopes to see even more youngsters move up to the first team squad next season, as he prepares to embark on his new role as the Potters’ Academy Director.

The 38-year-old will begin to lead the youth set-up at the Club in June, taking over from current incumbent Gareth Jennings who has been in the position for the past two and a half years.

In that time a steady stream of youngsters have moved across to the senior environment, with a total of six Academy players featuring for the first team during the 2018/19 campaign.

Five of those players – Tom Edwards, Tyrese Campbell, Lasse Sorensen, Thibaud Verlinden and Nathan Collins – all earned game time under Nathan Jones having impressed since his arrival as manager in January.

That level of progression is something which Owen hopes can be maintained moving into the new campaign, with a manager who has shown a willingness to reward youngsters with opportunities.

“Hopefully we can see even more of our young players move across to the first team next season, Owen expressed. “That has to be the number one aim for every member of staff here.

“The success of the Academy isn’t down to just one person, but a group of staff all performing excellently. That’s where I will be making sure each member of staff is performing in his or her role.

“That will then work its way through to the players, creating an environment where they can improve and hopefully go on to earn an opportunity with the first team.”

He added: “Hopefully I’m still in the role in 10 years’ time because it will mean we’ve had a steady stream of players making their way into the first team.

“There is always an element of luck involved in there, of course, because you could have a player that everyone says will be a star of the future but they may just go through a growth spurt and then can’t quite do what they could beforehand. 

“That is where sometimes you are in the realms of the unknown, however with the experience and knowledge of the staff though we are braced for that.

“I’d love to still be here in 10 years’ time because it will have shown the Academy has been successful. That won’t just down to me, though, but a lot of people pulling in the right direction.

“It’s a case of making sure we are doing what we say we are doing, which we will do.”

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AcademyTeamGareth Owen