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Ricky Duncan on a successful season

24 April 2013

Head of Youth speaks following the news of six youth members being offered the chance to continue their development at Roots Hall

Head of Youth Ricky Duncan was delighted to see six of his current youth squad given the chance to continue their development here at Southend United.

Success for the under-18’s, Ricky says, is based on the number of players who do make the step up, and having seen Mitchell Pinnock, Seedy Njie and Ryan Auger offered professional contracts, he believes the 2012-13 campaign has been a very successful one.

Ricky, speaking exclusively to Blues Player, said: “For us, the measure of success is the number of boys we get into the first-team and we’re delighted that three have been offered professional terms.

“Another three have been offered development deals so far so it’s really encouraging for anyone who may be looking to join the youth setup here at the Club.

“There is a clear line of sight for anyone who is looking at Southend United as they have seen youth team members progress into the first-team over the years.

“Seedy and Mitch have both been given the opportunity this season to join up with the first-team and that makes all the backroom staff in the youth setup extremely proud.”

Ryan Auger was offered professional terms after a successful season out on loan this time around. The three offered a year development deal can take a lot from Ryan, who was in their position last year, says Ricky.

“Ryan has done really well over the last year. He’s gone out this season into men’s football and improved,” Ricky said.

“This time last year we felt as though he needed another year to develop and that’s exactly what has happened.

“The three lads who will be with us for another year can see that it can be very successful so now it’s up to them to go and grab this opportunity and follow in the path that Ryan has taken this year.”

In terms of the youth’s league campaign, Ricky is pleased with the promising signs shown by his young players. He said: “We’ve had a number of boys from the under-16’s step up and we’ve given them a chance.

“They’ve done really well because they are playing at this level for the first time and we’ve done well results wise. 

“For us, it’s not a case of winning the league, it’s a case of producing the next generation of players for the club. I’d rather we finished bottom and had five players step up for example than win the league and have no-one offered a professional contract.

“Looking at it that way, it’s been a successful season on the part of everyone connected with the youth department.”

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