JUST under three months after first arriving at Home Park...
...the effects of Derek Adams’ objective to work with the Argyle academy are beginning to shine through.
Upon taking over the reins at the Theatre of Greens on June 11, 2015, Derek stated his intention to work, not only with the senior members of the playing staff, but also the emerging talent in the youth and development squads.
As a member of the Academy’s technical board, he has been privy to a number of key meetings behind the scenes, as well as being at pitchside for several youth team games over the summer.
“It’s been working out fine, but we’ve still got a long way to go,” said Derek. “Obviously we’ve got to concentrate on the first team, but we look to the Peninsula League and the Under-18s at the same time.
“I went to a number of Under-18 games during pre-season. It’s difficult to do that during the season when they’re playing at 11 o’clock in the morning away from home, or at home. We saw them last week in the cup game, at home to Exeter.
“The Peninsula League has also helped a number of first-year and second-year pros get match-time. We’ve arranged a lot of games against senior opposition, and that can only improve that players that we’ve got.”
Derek’s presence at the regular Academy meetings has been welcomed by the Academy Head Kevin Hodges. Derek said: “I have a wee bit of an input, from the point of view that I look to give my voice on what we can learn from other people and other clubs, and take that forward.
“Over a period of time, we’ll all sit down and come to a conclusion. It’s just about moving things forward and gaining new ideas. Kevin’s done a fantastic job with the Academy.”
Rather than instilling a certain philosophy or style of play on the young Pilgrims coming through the ranks, Derek is focused on allowing all young players to express themselves on the pitch, whilst gaining invaluable knowledge of different tactics and positions.
Once that experience has been gathered, the boss will then cast his over any potential players capable of making the perilous step up to adult, professional football.
“I think that when you’re a youngster, you have to get used to playing different systems, and different areas of the pitch as well,” said Adams.
“You can’t be comfortable in just the one system, because you might not be at this football club forever, and it’s about treating a youngster right and giving them experience of playing in different positions.
In terms of bringing youngsters into the first team, Derek said: “That’s where we have to get to. We have done it in the past, and we look to do that in the future.
“There is a big jump from Under-18 football to first-team football, and it’s a gap that we all wish we could have a squad in between, but finances dictate.”