Stephen McManus believes Motherwell have done all the right things to deliver a successful youth academy.
McManus was part of the Scotland squad that featured at Star Sixes, valiantly fighting for a joint third place finish in the star-studded tournament.
His focus now returns to Motherwell, where he coaches at various levels, from U18s, to the first team and the former Scotland international says the club have the right staff working with the different groups at Motherwell.
“I’ve been working at all different stages at the club, from youths to the first team I’m not really in the academy as much myself, I’m based at Fir Park. I am dealing with the academy for about an hour and a half a day, but the people at the club have been great with them.
“Steven Hammell and David Clarkson are based at Braidhurst, whilst I’m based at Fir Park. It’s good to have people in the right areas developing footballers for the first team.”
Motherwell have several young academy graduates in their team, with Chris Cadden, Allan Campbell, and David Turnbull all regular features in Stephen Robinson’s matchday squad. 16-year old Stuart McKinstry was named on the bench for the Steelmen’s Boxing Day fixture, highlighting the pathway to the first team for young stars.
McManus hopes to not only produce players who will play for Motherwell, but stars that will go on to become household names.
“We want to grow players that want to play for their country and play at the highest stage they possibly can. We have people that are ambitious all the way throughout the club, and these people are helping to drive the club forward.
“Whatever team you’re in, obviously the goal is the first team, but ultimately the aim has to be to play for your country and play in the biggest games you can.”
McManus thinks Fir Park boss Robinson is a massive part in this motivation for youngsters. He has seen the Northern Irishmen deliver the important message of youth development at Fir Park first hand.
“The manager really drives the message to our youths. He wants them in the first team, so he can sell them on, and see them play for their country, wherever there from. The fans demand good players, so through our academy, we try and produce good talent.”