It’s time the Ipswich Town youth system started producing again, says returning academy coach Bryan Klug
It’s time that Ipswich Town started living up to its proud tradition of producing a steady stream of homegrown talent once again.
That’s according to Bryan Klug following his emotional return to Portman Road as academy director, less than three years after he was controversially sacked by former boss Roy Keane.
Klug held numerous coaching positions during more than two decades’ service to the club, but it was his work with the academy for which he was most famed.
The likes of Kieron Dyer, Darren Bent and Richard Wright all broke into the first team following his guidance, while the Blues won the FA Youth Cup in 2005 under his management.
And with the club set to pump an additional �1 million pounds a year into the youth system to satisfy new Elite Player Performance Plan guidelines, Klug – back following a spell at Tottenham – believes such heights can be reached again.
He said: “When Joe Royle was here the aim was to have at least five or six players in the matchday squad and we were doing that quite comfortably.
“That sort of production line has probably tailed off a little bit since then if we are being honest.
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“Certainly, at Championship level, a club of this size should be producing more young players than it has in recent years.”
He continued: “I am really looking forward to the challenge of the EPPP. It’s geared very much to a model designed for the top Premier League clubs, but here at Ipswich we have always done things in our own way and that will not change.
“Youth coaching is just about establishing really good habits at an early age. I like to instil passing football and good movement into players, but at the end of the day you have to coach a mixture of style and steel.
“The manager (Paul Jewell) is really interested in bringing youth through into the first team, while the owner (Marcus Evans) is committed to it too.
“They have both stressed their long-term vision and that was very important to me. I wouldn’t have left Tottenham if I thought I was coming into a situation where there was no value on working with youth.
“I am confident we can continue to produce top footballers from this area.”
He added: “Some of the audits are a little bit fussy and over-egged, but there is a lot of good things about this new EPPP system.
“I was welcomed back with the biggest box of paperwork you can imagine – now it’s a case of making that into a living document.”