Presentation: The Wolves Academy and the Players
The word has come out today that Chaucer – previous head sponsors for Wolves – have struck a deal to sponsor the Academy the upcoming season.
Very uplifting! And the young ones gets to wear that nice emblem with the stylized horse on their shirts for the season. And they get a six figure sum for the trouble and of course gets a better chance to be able to develop further.
Cause that’s what it’s about. To develop an Academy that can provide our first team with players who are already used to the club and can take the step. But no Premier League club has really succeded in this yet. Wolves are taking steps towards it, though, and we have a very talented youth squad at the moment.
Todays Wolves Academy is managed by Kevin Thelwell. He came to Wolves in 2008 from Derby. He and his staff has their own rooms at Compton and the Academy players has the same facilities to train and rehab at as the senior squad.
The Academy scholars form the core of the Academy Under 18 Team that play in the Premier Academy League. They ended up fifth in their group last season – after Liverpool but before Manchester City. Paddytheflea will of course follow the team in the league the upcoming season.
Some of the players are signed at a very early age, but they cannot be paid until their 16th birthday. All clubs in the FL has the same tarif for paying youth players. Wolves are paying the maximum amount and it was £105 a week for the first yearlings and £115 for Second Year Players. A pro contract cannot be signed until the players 17th birthday.
The first and second year players of the Academy attend a regular school, trains two or three evenings a week and one day a week they are at Compton all day training.
After the Second Year the players can get a real pro contract with Wolves. Some of these players will continue to play for the Development Team – which is managed by Steve Weaver – and others will go out on-loan to other clubs and some will keep on studying and play elsewhere. As it is until now, nobody has gone directly from the Academy to play for the Wolves first team regularly. And the record from other clubs in the PL are the same.
As I understand it the hope is that the Academy together with the Development Team will get the youngsters a better and better grounding that they some day – maybe after being out on-loan for a while – can compete for a place in the senior Wolves squad.
But the Development team regularly gets to train with the senior squad and first year players from the Academy train with the Development team and some of them will also play in the Development team.
Players like Nat Mendez-Laing, Scott Malone and Nathan Rooney among others have already merited themselves when and after attending the Academy. And more will come. Let’s take a look at the Academy players of today.
The First Year Group
Birmingham lad who signed for Wolves in 2006. Consistently good performances in the Under 16 side throughout last season and on the trip to Qatar gave him a scholarship status at Wolves.
Slovenian Youth International, Aljaz was recruited by Wolves as an Under 16 player. The tall keeper is now reported to have settled in Wolverhampton and is making great progress with his English language. This follows on from an 18-month spell registered with Empoli in Italy (see more about Cotman HERE)
A local boy: Has been at the club since he was eight. A Welsh U17 International.
A Republic of Ireland Schoolboy International, After playing in Ireland for Kingdom Boys and Ballingarry he has made great progress whilst featuring for the Wolves U16 and U18 teams. Have you seen him in this VIDEO?
A local lad who settled in Wolverhampton from the age of eight when he came with his family from Serbia. Joined Wolves Academy as an Under 11 player. Was part of England U16 schoolboys successful Victory Shield squad in 2009 and was Player of the Tournament at the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland in the same year and very successful at Gothia Cup in Sweden last summer. Unfortunately injured much of last season. In the same video as Forde (link above).
From Nottingham. Recruited at the start of this season. Previously registered at Derby County Academy. He has settled in very quickly at Wolves.
From Warlingham. Previously at Fulham football club but he made a big impression during a spell with Wolves U16 sides at the end of last season and secured a place in the Academy.
Recruited from Slovakian side Spartac Tanarva during his U16 year where he was playing in U17 Academy Football. A regular Slovakian international and was a key figure in their Under 17 European Championship campaign held in England in 2009. His English is rapidly improving.
Another local lad, from Cannock who has been at the club since he was eight. He has now secured a place in the Northern Ireland International set up thanks to his Irish grandfather. He scored the winner against Belgium in a European championship U17 game in March 2010.
After previous spells with Walsall and West Bromwich Albion, Josh impressed in U16 games for Wolves enough to gain himself a scholarship at the club.
Joined the Under 11 squad in 2004. Formerly from Perton.
The Second Year Group
From Northwich, Cheshire and signed for the club in October 2006. He has been on tours to Germany and became the hero at Gothia Cup in Sweden with Wolves junior and Youth Team squads.
Ethan Ebanks Landell
A former student at Holly Lodge High School in Smethwick, Ethan signed for Wolves already in September 2001, and he has been a regular in all the club’s age group teams from originally playing as an Under 9. He has travelled with Wolves squads to South Korea, Italy, Belgium, Germany and Sweden.
Formerly with Manchester City for one year, and Manchester United for six years before joining Wolves this season. Originally from Cheshire. He is currently combining his apprenticeship at Wolves with a scholarship programme at Repton School in Derby. In the summer of 2010 he achieved the notable feat of picking up two senior Northern Ireland caps as he impressed in friendlies against Turkey and Chile and became MoM.
A local lad from Bilston signed for Wolves in May 2003. He attended Thomas Telford School where he was very successful in his GCSE exams. Sam is a very talented all round sports player who could also have followed an academic route but opted to pursue a career in football.
A local lad. He signed for Wolves in 2005. He missed a large amount of playing time as a schoolboy but came through it superbly to earn an apprenticeship. He represented Cannock and Staffordshire schoolboy sides.
After attending a Wolves Football in the Community coaching course scheme, Andre was recommended to the Academy and he then went on to have a successful trial that has led to him gaining an Apprenticeship. He signed for Wolves in September 2001. He attended Windsor High school in Halesowen and represented Halesowen & District Schools FA.
From Letterbarrow in County Donegal, Ireland. Brian came across to Wolverhampton on many occasions before joining on a full time basis this season. Another product of the club’s successful scouting network in the Republic of Ireland.
Another player who was identified following attendance at a ‘Wolves in the Community’ football scheme, James was originally unsuccessful following his trial with Wolves Academy, but he was re-trialled in a following season and signed for the club in September 2004.
Jack has been registered with Wolves since 2001. He trained with the club as a seven year old and signed at the start of the Under 9 season. He has been a regular in the Academy sides since then.
Another local lad who signed for Wolves in 2006. He signed at this time following a previous unsuccessful trial. He has worked hard to gain his scholarship at the club and it is his positive attitude that is one of the key reasons for his tremendous progress. His form at the start of the 2009/10 season saw him named as a substitute for the first team games with Wigan and Swindon (Carling Cup).
Paddytheflea wishes the Academy and Development Team players a very good season and I will try to follow you on a regular basis for the benefit of my readers.
Paddytheflea (who used a tad of info from the Official Wolves Site to write this)