Crewe Alexandra’s academy has been ranked in the country’s top 10 for the first time ever – and it is down to the talent and dedication of hard-working staff.
That’s according to Academy Manager Aidan Callan, who is delighted to see Crewe elevated two places to ninth in the latest rankings, compiled by football performance analyst Training Ground Guru.
It means Crewe have jumped above Liverpool in the standings, and remain comfortably the most productive Category II academy in the country.
Callan said: “It’s brilliant news. It was a target of ours to break into the top 10, so we are delighted. It’s recognition of the hard work of all the staff here, past and present. It's a huge credit to them all.
“There are much bigger clubs, with much bigger budgets, spending lots of money trying to do what we’re doing.
“We walk around wearing the badge and staff from other clubs often ask us what our secret is.
“But there is no secret. It’s down to hard work and giving players an opportunity - which is the club’s philosophy. It’s very pleasing to get the feeling we are doing a good job.”
In 2020-21, Crewe were ranked an impressive 11th of 82 academies in the country.
This time, the club has achieved a productivity score higher than Premier League sides like Aston Villa, Southampton, Fulham and Leicester.
Crewe are also the only non-Premier League side inside the top 10, and the sole Category II academy inside the top 15.
The rankings are the only publicly-available resource of their kind. Training Ground Guru grades academies based on the number of England-qualified graduates who made at least one league appearance in the Premier League, Football League or National League during a season.
Chelsea lead the way, with Manchester United and Arsenal in second and third respectively. Crewe are one place behind Leeds United, and one above Liverpool.
Callan added: “Our challenge is to keep doing it, we can’t rest on our laurels.
“I think last season there were nine debuts handed to homegrown players. We have to make sure we are always producing players for the manager, and the staff recognise that.
“There will be years when we aren’t as successful, but we have to continue to work hard to keep standards up and keep players coming through.”