Exeter City Head of Youth Simon Hayward can’t wait for the new season to begin as he looks forward to welcoming nine new first year Apprentices to the Club’s Cat and Fiddle Training Ground.
Jake Viney, Luke Roper, Liam Pike, Ollie Knowles, Jordan Moore-Taylor, Jacob Wannell, Jamie Micklewright, Jacob Cane and Jamie Reid will all start their two year Apprenticeship schemes with the Football Club in July and Hayward is confident they are all prepared to make the next step up in their football development.
Speaking to the Club’s official website, Hayward said:
“This nine are arguably the best group of players we have had at the Club at this age group, they are better than our current second years were two years ago and I think our Under 14’s are better than the Under 16’s were two years ago and so on which is very positive for us.”
“All of them have had a taste of Under 18 football this season and they have an idea of the tempo and the intensity of it and that bodes well for next season.”
“Jordan Moore-Taylor for example has been a regular for the Under 18’s since day one this season.”
This age group’s graduation marks a significant milestone for the Centre of Excellence as they are the first to have completed the system from Under 9’s to Under 18’s.
“They are a group of players that we signed as I first came in,” Hayward explained.
“We had only run the Centre of Excellence from Under 12’s to Under 16’s previously and we were just expanding to bring in Under 9’s. So they are the first group to complete the system and come all the way through.”
When running through the positions for the newest crop of Under 18’s it was obvious how versatile some of the players are with Jamie Reid, Jamie Micklewright and Jacob Cane in particular all being able to play in a number of positions.
And Hayward explained how their choice of position develops from the day they first arrive at the Club in a system that is not dissimilar to the famed Ajax philosophy much hyped in the 90’s.
He said: “Jake Vinney, Luke Roper, Liam Pike, Ollie Knowles and Jordan Moore Taylor signed for us as an Under 9 level, Jacob Wannell was here from Under 10’s, Jamie Micklewright and Jamie Reid have been with us since Under 11’s and we want them to play in a lot of positions.”
“At 9, 10, 11, they are probably playing everywhere. Everyone will play everywhere and no one is given a position and by 12, 13 we might narrow it down to four or five positions.”
“By 13, 14 and 15 you like to try and have one or two positions where you know that is where they are best.”
“Because you want to give them a chance to be a certain type of player in a certain type of position and you have to make sure you don’t make them a utility player, they need to have a best position or two where they excel.”