James Collins warns the first year pros that the hard work starts now
First team coach James Collins says he never doubted for a minute that all of the club’s young Academy graduates would sign their first professional contracts this summer. Collins, who is also now involved with the first-team coaching under Steve Davis was confident that all of the club’s youngsters would sign and commit their continued development here with us.
Collins, who helped develop our collection of first-team professionals during his work with the younger age groups, told the club’s official web-site: “They are a good bunch of lads and it will help them that five have signed at the same time. They are the right characters and have the right attitude.
“There is probably not a superstar amongst them, like say a Nick Powell, but they have talent and can improve further.
“I think that is the way it is with young players in the modern game. They have an agent and they have to run it past them. It takes a bit of time. They go away for a few weeks and then come in and sign.
“I spoke with the boys individually, because I had known them for a long time and I knew there was never any danger of any of them not signing with us. They were all keen to sign and get down to the proper stuff which is the football.
“All I can advise them and will advise them is that the hard work really does start now. It is all about those little steps. You get your professional contract by working hard over many years and then it is a question of making an impression to get into the first-team squad, then the team and then it is about staying in the team.
“I just told them to come back fit and ready for the challenge. They have to make an impression on the manager and the first thing they can do is lead the running in the pre-season.
“Matt Tootle caught the eye under Gudjon (Thordarson) here and was given his chance and you can see the career he has had for us. I would advise them to do the same thing.”