Preston North End’s Director of Youth Dean Ramsdale has challenged his Apprentices to hit the big time by becoming first-team stars.
On average only 40 per cent of Apprentices earn a professional deal at 18 years of age however, Ramsdale is continually trying to buck that trend by producing youngsters ready for first-team action.
Last term seven products of the club’s youth system made their debuts. They included Doyle Middleton who has just started the 2nd Year of his Apprenticeship and Ramsdale is keen to replicate this achievement.
“Our benchmark is there, they know what we expect of them and we have a number of boys now that have played in the first team,” he told the club’s website.
“Hopefully they’ll see that now and will understand that it’s important now for them to progress as quickly as possible to get themselves a first team opportunity.”
The focus on the ultimate reward for youngsters will always remain the same despite results and winning awards.
Ramsdale continued about goal setting: “I spoke to the first years at their induction and asked them, ‘what’s your goal for the season?’”
“Of course they all said they wanted to play in the youth team but I said ‘no, your goal now is to spend as little time as possible with Jamie, myself and Nick and you need to be trying to get developed as quickly as you can to end up working with the Gaffer, Brian (Horton) and Dave (Unsworth).”
“We have a really good set of players this year and I think it’s going to be another good year for us!”