Newly appointed Academy Manager David Longwell gives his first thoughts since joining the club.
Shrewsbury Town are delighted to announce David Longwell as the clubs new Academy Manager.
Longwell spoke to Shrewsbury Town for the first time this morning and expressed how happy he is to be Academy Manager of Shrewsbury Town.
“I’m really happy to be here, obviously I know Brian from before at St Mirren and he did a very good job of persuading me to come down here.
“I visited over Christmas and New Year and I just got a really good feeling for the place.
“I’ve always wanted to come into the English side of football. I think it’s a really good progression for me personally.
Longwell spent 15 years at St Mirren producing some academy players who went on to win the Scottish League Cup in 2013.
“I was up in St Mirren for a long time. There’s a lot of pride in what the staff and I did at St Mirren. We were a small club without the biggest of budgets.
“We didn’t have a lot of full-time staff but credit to the staff and players we had. Some players we had like John McGinn, we had him in since he was 6 or 7 all of the way through to the first team.
“There was a multitude of different types of players, Lewis Morgan who came in a little bit later he’s now at Sunderland.
“There’s a good cross reference of boys who have come in. The most important side of everything is they all got a chance at St Mirren.
“I think they’re trying to do a very similar thing at Shrewsbury. With Brian being here and I met Sam, Eric and the Chairman, I just got the feeling that this would be a very good place for me to come and work.”
David also spent a few years over in the MLS where he worked for Orlando City and New York Red Bulls.
“It was very different to St Mirren, it was a really good opportunity to go to Orlando City first and then to New York, completely different climates and culture as you can imagine.
“It was a really good experience. Having been with St Mirren for so long and the Scottish Fa you take a lot of experience from that. Going to America you’re working with different people and for different people, so you learn a lot from that.
“I’ve taken the best of what I’ve learnt from all of my previous clubs and you put that together to help you try and progress.
“I do think I’ve got a lot to offer in terms of experience I’ve had. I’ve been very lucky and fortunate to be with a lot of good people from a young age.
“Brian being here is a very big bonus because he’ll be very supportive like people have in the past to support the ideas I’ve had.
“I’ve had some really good mentors from the SFA and obviously the people at St Mirren and over in the MLS which helped me.
“I’ve been lucky enough to visit lots of clubs in Europe and just learn as much as I can. I’ve been on as many courses as possible and taken lots from as many as I can because it can only make you better.
“The game is always evolving and you have to try and evolve with it. That’s something I’m going to try and do here as much as possible just to try and give the players as much of a chance as possible to try and develop and get to the first team.”
Longwell sees the job at Shrewsbury as an attractive one given the academy’s current status and it’s potential.
“I’ve was really impressed when I came down to visit. I met Sam, Eric and Dan Copnall, I got a great feeling for the place and what a great infrastructure the club has.
“I’m really impressed with what Andy and Eric have done, I think there’s a great foundation in place. The challenge for me is to try and take that on to another level.
“I’ve met all the staff this week which has been really good and I’ve been really impressed with everybody and I’m not just saying that.
“They have great enthusiasm and an open mind. The staff I have inherited are great and it’s very positive as it is going to help me do my job to a really good level.
“The U8s to me are as important as the U18s. My job is to oversee everyone but it’s trying to collaborate with everyone and make everyone working with the U8s feel as important as the U18s.
“I went down to Preston yesterday to watch the U18s and I was really impressed with their attitude and the intensity of the game.
"I could see that they have been coached really well. So again from a foundation for me coming in it’s really good for me to start with.”
A pathway to the first team is something Longwell strives to achieve and he was pleased the club share similar objectives.
“When I was at St Mirren, you just want managers to give players an opportunity. I remember when Tommy Craig joined he was a really good link from the Academy to the first team. It was then up to the manager to give the players the opportunity.
“I see the same here. Eric being involved with the Academy means he’s obviously got an interest and cares about the work he’s done at the Academy so it’s going to help make that transition easier.
“I think for young players wanting to play somewhere I think Shrewsbury is a great platform and a great pathway into the first team.”