Shrewsbury Town’s Head of Academy Coaching Eric Ramsay is excited by what the next 12 months could hold for the Academy.
Town’s Under-18 side returned to pre-season training on Monday with a new-look squad after 10 players graduated last summer.
Ramsay, who joined from Swansea last season, is delighted by the backing the Academy have received from Paul Hurst and is hopeful that more players can make a career in the game.
“In the presentation this morning we talked about the fact that there was light at the end of the tunnel now, Eric told ShrewsWeb.
“It seems as though there is a pathway for youth team players to at least break into that first team group or the set-up, but we are also mindful of the fact that there are 1,500 other scholars across the country also starting their programmes today and they’ve got to do more than the rest of those players if they want to carve out a professional career.”
“It’s important that they aren’t only looking at what it’s like within our environment and being the best player here, but they’ve got to set the benchmark nationally if they want to go and make a career, so we’ve set some really high standards this morning.”
There are seven first year scholars this season, all of whom saw game time towards the end of last season, and Eric is excited by the potential of the group.
“There’s not one character in the group you can fault and within the group of 17 there’s some really good footballers as well”, said Ramsay.
“We’ll draw heavily on the experience that the under-16s gained at under-18 level last year and I think we are hopeful that we put down a really good foundation in terms of game minutes at under-18 level for those first year scholars.”
One player that has already made his mark with the first-team this season is Christos Sielis. Christos, a Cypriot youth international, joined Town at the back end of last season and has quickly caught the eye of Town boss Paul Hurst.
“Christos has gone to Portugal and by all accounts Barney (Ryan Barnett) has had a really good start to pre-season, so already that’s two that have got a couple of weeks under their belts and are pretty well integrated into that group”, continued Eric.
“Obviously they’ve set the benchmark and we will be looking at them to be the shining lights, but equally there’s other second years that can hopefully make their mark and some first years of real promise, so the group as a whole is one to watch.”