Having worked with many talented young players and staff over the years, I've always been keen to follow their careers with interest.
How are they developing as players and as people ? Have they reached or surpassed their early potential ? Have they lost their way ? Have they been injured ? Are they being good role models ?
As a Manager of a Football Club you have many responsibilities. The 1st Team has to win! That is taken for granted, however, with the big number of Managerial sackings, it's not easy !
Another responsibility I believe is to provide a pathway to the 1st Team for the young players. If they are not going to make it in your 1st team, then we still have a responsibility to keep developing the players as professionals and help them stay playing the game at a suitable level. To be the best they can be.
I strongly believe that we have also a responsibility to surround the youngsters with a culture at a football club that helps develop them into good people, with values that are solid and respectful. This can take time to establish at a club. Time not afforded to many Managers in the modern game.
Senior players help to play an important part in this, and it's important to have good ones with you at a club, to be role models in helping the youngsters achieve the best they can be. I've been fortunate to have had some outstanding senior players. The cascade learning of sharing their experiences as players, in life, and in the world of professional football should not be underestimated. They may be coming towards the later stages of their careers, however how they conduct themselves, how they train, the standards they set, the standards they know that are required by the Manager and the Football Club are invaluable for a young player to see and be surrounded with, as he starts off on his career pathway.
I've been very fortunate that I've had the privilege to work with some outstanding people who have been well respected members of my staff. The staff at a football club are critical. It is how they help develop the youngsters whether that be a young player or a young member of staff. Sharing experiences is important in developing people. We all make mistakes and we all fail at something. It's the lessons you learn from these mistakes and failures that ensure you become successful in life. You have to make decisions and you need the endeavour and effort to keep trying to attain something. You need the grit and resilience to keep going when things are going against you.
I watch with interest, and pride, on how the young players and staff I have had the responsibility for, flourish and grow throughout their careers.