Match Previews

'De Zerbi helping change mentality of the academy'

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Shannon Ruth's team take on Leeds in Premier League 2 tonight.

By Charlie Hanson • 11 August 2023

By Paul Hazlewood
Men's under-21s head coach Shannon Ruth.

Men’s under-21s head coach Shannon Ruth has said that Roberto De Zerbi is having a fantastic influence on the academy.

Ahead of the Premier League 2 opener against Leeds United at the American Express Elite Performance Centre tonight (7pm), Ruth spoke about the head coach’s input.

“Roberto has been excellent with the young players,” Shannon said. “When called upon he’s given them a chance and that gives the other players in the academy the belief that we have a wonderful pathway and if you’re good enough the manager will pick you.

“He’s helped us grow in terms of where we set our targets. Against any opponent our attitude is to win and go toe-to-toe. Roberto has helped us expand our ambitions.”

Cam Peupion, Ed Turns, Jack Hinshelwood, Imari Samuels and Jensen Weir were all given an opportunity during our Premier League Summer Series in the USA this summer.

By Paul Hazlewood
Albion's academy was well represented during the Premier League Summer Series tour.

Ruth reckons their experiences are passed on to the rest of the under-21s squad.

“From both a technical and tactical perspective it improves us, but from an environment perspective they get to see how top professionals live their lives and how they prepare for training and matches,” added Ruth.

“We try our hardest to mirror some of Roberto’s principles in how we play to help the transition, so those players come back into our group with a greater understanding of the ideas that Roberto has.

Ruth is looking forward to the start of league action against Leeds.

“We’ve prepared well and pre-season has been really positive,” he added. “We had a trip to Marbella which was hugely beneficial alongside the experience a few of the players got with the first team in America. Now the team is starting to take shape and it’s all been really positive.”