AFCB – Official club website

AFC Bournemouth player progression manager Joe Roach has a sense of ‘pride’ when considering the career of Cherries academy graduate Danny Ings.

The Premier League first-team opener today is set to see the 30-year-old Englishman return to Vitality Stadium as part of Steven Gerrard’s squad.

Having come through the ranks in the red and black stripes in the mid-2000s, the Aston Villa frontman has continued his career so far at the highest level.

For Roach, who oversaw the training of young Cherries throughout Ings’ time at the club, it provides a shining example of the work being done at the academy, formerly the Center of Excellence.

“It’s humiliating in some ways, it makes you proud in others and also excited,” Roach recounted. “There are so many different feelings about it.

“To almost not get a contract with his injury and being loaned out to Dorchester for his trip since he was 30 is…wow!

“If you were writing a plan of how you’d like it to go about 20 years ago, it’s probably surpassed that.

“It’s been an incredible journey and he’s had his ups and downs, but from the age of 16 a lot of his traits came to fruition and were sustained with the work he did.

“I remember speaking to one of the Liverpool coaches when he got injured there, and he said he was a fantastic mentor for young players while he was injured.

“He is very modest in many ways and very respectful in many ways as well – which always comes in very handy to you from a young age.

“He had a really good family behind him and was really grounded. Even with the accommodation he was in, I think he still talks to them now.

This modest and respectful nature for which Ings was announced is a central point that the staff of the academy seek to instill.

As is still the case today, Roach saw his role in the Center of Excellence as shaping young people as people as well as footballers.

He said: “Everyone was on the same page, there was no pay difference or whatever, it was a pretty disciplined environment.

“We created an environment that created good people who could go into another career or out of the league if football didn’t work out.

“Unfortunately,” Roach added, “we were what we were, but a lot of players from that era went into the non-league successfully or went into different types of business ventures and did very well.

“It was difficult, interesting, enjoyable and difficult in equal parts.”

While the academy has today produced players of the same ilk as Jaidon Anthony, Mark Travers and Jordan Zemura – all of whom are set to embark on a top-flight campaign – the Cherries youth roster has consistently produced impressive graduates over the years. years.

While not the Premier League football club seen today, players such as Danny Ings, Sam Vokes and Brett Pitman were still developed for first team football.

The scene at the time of developing these players was much different for Roach, with a lot of progress made since then.

He explained: “It was very, very different and in some ways healthy because everyone was on the same level.

“Everyone dug in, the players too, there was no excuse in terms of margins of error; players had to ramp up pretty quickly.

“We had to apply for a scholarship for Danny from the local council to support him when he moved into accommodation – that was the scene at the time.

“Having a non-scholarship program, basically a university program, and producing professional players and playing international football at younger age groups was a testament to themselves, families and staff.

“The club has built on that and developed the infrastructure, and our recruitment is now totally different from what it was before.

“We didn’t have dedicated recruitment staff who were targeted, we had quite a bit of success with released players.”

While today’s academy scene is vastly different from the center of excellence, Roach has no doubt that the crosshairs are firmly set on continuous development.

Sharing the recruitment of players from the academy, he said: “The players have seen Bournemouth as a good club, as have their families and the intermediaries, and I think we are recognized as a good academy.

“The club supports the academy so that we are, in some ways, a bit above our weight.

“We don’t take it lightly and stop the throttle, though. We obviously want to take it to the next level.

“It’s totally different now than it was, but in many ways it’s the same. I like to think these are the same requirements for players.

“That’s why we signed a lot of former players, to keep this link with the club.”

About Jean R. Manzer

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