I would firstly like to congratulate Finley Burns for receiving player of the tournament in Buchwald, Germany last weekend.
It was a fantastic achievement where he played for our 2003- born squad with Dave Johnson and Paul Barry managing the squad. We entered two, one day professional tournaments over the weekend; on day one, the team got to the semi final of a 30-team tournament and on day two the team reached the final of a 14- team tournament.
The team, staff and Finley have made the club and academy proud of their performances during the weekend.
My second well done goes to Dan Ashworth. Dan has been named this week as FA director of elite development and will leave his role at the end of the season as West Brom’s technical director.
My connection with Dan goes back as far as 1999 where I was Peterborough United's under 10 coach and Dan was the assistant Academy manager for the club for ages 8-12. In 2001, when Peterborough's Academy closed, Dan was appointed as head of youth at Cambridge United. At the age of 21 I was delighted and honoured that Dan called me and asked me to be his assistant at Cambridge where my main roles were in recruitment and coaching the club’s younger players.
In 2004 Dan moved to West Brom to help Aidy Boothroyd set up the club’s Academy and in 2007 he was promoted to director of football.
A fantastic appointment from the FA from a man who I respect very highly and know very well. Dan called me last Wednesday and was more concerned with asking me how I was than talking about his huge role in the FA.
This really sums him up. He is a total professional and deserves everything he has achieved. My morals, habits and standards in the youth development game were all taught by Dan and a small number of special other coaches I came across early in my career.
Similar to teaching players these habits become part of a coaches DNA and will never be lost.
Head of Academy Coaching