James Collins says developing players at youth level is more important than lifting trophies at that level
Crewe Alexandra’s 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers in the Under 21 Professional Development League Two Final last season saw us end the season on a high at Youth level, but coach James Collins is quick to state that developing players for the first team remains his number one priority.
A wonderful goal from Max Clayton gave us a 1-0 win over QPR at Loftus Road and the club’s Under-18s were unfortunate to lose their own final on penalties to Huddersfield Town following a thrilling 3-3 draw.
Collins was understandably delighted to oversee that success at Youth level alongside the likes of Alex Morris and Kenny Lunt, but he is focussed on developing young players for the future.
“Being a success at Youth level is not what it is all about really for us, but it does show that we have good players here. They wanted to win their respective leagues and reach their finals and they both managed to achieve that, ‘says James.
“The Under-21s won their final and it was a good night for everyone involved but lifting that trophy is not what is important to us. It is nice, of course, but we are aiming to produce players for our first team. That is our objective.
“We have had to deal with bigger clubs looking at our young players in the past. It has always happened since I joined the coaching side of things and even before that. We don’t lose many.
“The young players and their parents know what we are about. They know they will be given every opportunity to develop here and to play in our first team at a young age. They can see what we have achieved in the past and they buy into it.
James added: “It is a family club and I think the kids enjoy the environment and that personal touch. It works for us and we will continue to work hard at it.”