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More international call-ups a proud moment for Academy

Academy manager John Morling delighted that his staff’s efforts are being reflected.

By Charlie Hanson • 03 June 2021

By Paul Hazlewood
Academy Manager John Morling.

John Morling couldn’t be prouder of the work his colleagues in Albion’s academy have put in after Ben White and Rob Sanchez were called up for their countries ahead of Euro 2020.

The pair joined Albion as 16-year-olds, progressed through the ranks before gaining important experience in the EFL. This season they both played significant roles in Albion’s Premier League campaign.

Morling said, “It’s brilliant news and a proud moment for the staff that have worked with them and the players they have played alongside, past and present.

“People don’t realise how many people have an input into a player’s development. You think of all the goalkeeping coaches that have worked with Rob Sanchez, people like Ben Roberts, Casper Ankergren and Shannon Ruth.

“Then you’ve got Ben White, who came in as a scholar after being released by another club, and went on loan to three clubs over three seasons and took a different route into the team. Lots of people have been involved.

“It’s the same with Jayson Molumby and Aaron Connolly who are regulars with Ireland’s senior squad now, as well as Danny Mandroiu who is in the Ireland squad, having come through the ranks here. It’s really rewarding for the academy.”

By FA Ireland
Aaron Connolly in action for Ireland against Finland earlier this season.

White was signed after Southampton released him. “We’ve released players before who have gone and done well, but you can only make an educated decision. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you get it wrong,” added Morling.

“If it was an easy decision, then players like Ben wouldn’t have been available when he was.

“There are so many variables that make a footballer. Danny Mandroiu is a good example. We knew he had ability but was let go and now he’s in the Ireland senior team. Maybe being released was a shot in the arm for him to grab hold of his career – he’s still very much a success in our eyes as he was here three years and we kept in contact with him to say well done.

“You try and make more good decisions than bad, but it’s not always as straightforward as that.”