Academy Manager talks about insightful study visit in Spain
Shrewsbury Town’s Academy Manager, Eric Ramsay, recently visited Spain on a study visit.
The five day tour saw Ramsay look at how the Spanish Academy system worked, a system which has produced some of the best players in the world over the last decade.
Eric was one of four EFL Academy Managers to attend the event and he admits that he found it a very worthwhile exercise.
“It was a study visit into Academy methodology in Spain, particularly in Andalucía”, Ramsay told ShrewsWeb.
“We visited Sevilla, Malaga, Betis and Grenada, as well as the Spanish FA and it was a look into their system, their methodology, their way of doing things, particularly based around the 16-18s programme and the 18s pathway into the reserves and ‘B’ teams.
“It was actually interesting in the sense that I certainly don’t think the Academy system here is far behind and I think it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say we were ahead on lots of fronts, and I think you have seen that now in the results at junior international level for England.”
Ramsay was particularly impressed by the passion and drive of the coaches and he is hopeful of bringing some of the ideas back to Shrewsbury Town.
“There wasn’t loads that I saw last week that I was blown away by, but there were certainly some small tweaks and alterations that you take from their systems and drop into ours”, said Eric.
“The coaches are incredibly passionate and really professional. They are so driven to get the extra one or two percent out of players and they leave no stone unturned in trying to do that.
“That’s despite the fact that even at the bigger clubs the coaches aren’t full-time, even those that work with youth teams, so the infrastructure isn’t actually as good as it is at a club like Shrewsbury, but the mentality of the coaches is such that the work we get done, they get done on a part-time basis.
“As everyone would probably associate with Spanish football, it is all possession based and it is play at all cost, and they state that that is the best way to develop players because it stresses them so much and that’s an approach that we’ve had since I’ve been here, so it was nice to see that in practice.”