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Praise for the academy

A quiet time at the moment given it is international week and the MEN is taking the time to focus on the work of the academy and its graduates with a series of articles this week (something the official site is also doing).

Looking at the list of players who have come through the academy to the first team illustrates just what a fantastic job Jim Cassell and his team have done over the years - with it showing no signs of letting up with more academy players on the fringe of the both the reserves and first team.

The work done cannot be underestimated and credit must be given to Joe Royle for backing the academy after relegation to Division 2, when it was thought academy funding may be one of the first things to be cut but funding was still found and we ae now seeing the fruits of that with the quality of players that have come through in the past five years or so.

Whilst the cost of the running the academy cannot be underestimated, it is also something that is 'paying its own way' gven the amount we have recouped by selling players who have not quite made the grade at the club, not to mention the £24 million received from the sale of Shaun Wright-Phillips.

It is good to see that Sven-Goran Eriksson (and Shinawatra) have talked up the academy and that nationally there has been a lot of focus and praise on the work done, and despite the money now being available following the takeover, it is something that all parties seem keen to continue to develop and we should see even more young players staking their claim for first team positions.