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Club News


15 May 2018

Paul Hazlewood
Albion's academy manager John Morling at Villa Park.

Brighton & Hove Albion academy manager John Morling expressed his delight towards the improvements made across the board at academy level, and also commented on the successful use of the loan system this season.

Albion’s under-23s concluded a promising campaign for the club’s academy with play-off final success at Villa Park on Saturday, and Morling believes the club has taken big steps forward, as a number of players have also achieved success on loan in the Football League.

He said, “I think we’ve progressed this season, both on and off the pitch. We aim to produce good footballers but also good people, and hopefully their experiences here will benefit them in the long run.

“Another gauge of the academy progressing is that we’ve never had five players out on loan in the Football League from the under-23 age group - but this year we have.

“We’ve had more interest in the under-23s than we’ve had any other year. That’s great and it’s what you want - that comes with being successful.

“Developing players in-house can be equally as beneficial as sending them out on loan. The under-23 league is a very high level, both technically and tactically, and some players develop more by staying in the building longer.

“Our ultimate goal is to get more and more players into our first team. We’re getting closer and closer, and some of the boys that have been out on loan have also done excellent.”

Morling continued to praise Albion’s achievements this season, before highlighting the excellent work being carried out from an educational point of view, as the players strengthen their knowledge as well as their footwork.

“The under-23s had a really good season, getting promoted while playing some really good football - playing how we’d expect our teams to play.

“We got promoted, won the Sussex Senior Cup and got to the quarter-finals of the Premier League Cup. We’ll play in the top league next season and also the Checkatrade Trophy again.

“We also beat the number of international appearances that we got last season, which is a brilliant achievement for the academy, from under-15s to under-23s.

“We’ve achieved really high marks in education, and we got a really positive report from the Premier League for how we do things from an educational point of view.”

The summer break will provide some downtime for many of the club’s academy staff, following a tiring season both on and off the pitch, and Morling showed his appreciation towards the work being carried out.

“The staff in the academy work very hard, doing long hours, working Saturdays and Sundays.

“They do everything they can to benefit the players that they work with, and all their work and effort is very much appreciated by the players’ parents, and also the senior members at the club, who we receive great support from.

“We’ve reduced injury rates across the board this season, while strength and conditioning testing has also continued to rise every year.

“Our analysis department has achieved great results this season and the recruitment department has worked tirelessly to improve all of our squads, while we also develop the players already at the club.

“Finally, our psychology department has worked closely with our coaches and players throughout the season, and their contribution has also been invaluable.”

The academy saw three members of the under-23 squad - Aaron Connolly, Dessie Hutchinson and Jayson Molumby - make their senior debuts for the club, and Morling continued to speak about the progress being made on the south coast.

“It was great to see three of the lads make their senior debuts in the Carabao Cup, while Max Sanders and Jayson also featured on the bench in the FA Cup and Premier League respectively.

“Our under-18s also had a positive season considering they were the youngest group in the league, and our teams from under-9s to under-16s qualified to the latter stages of Premier League tournaments throughout the year.

"We'll continue to strive for positive results within the academy, and hopefully next season can be even better than the one just gone."

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