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Martin Hunter Interview

May 25, 2018 10:26 am Author: AFC Media Team

Southampton FC Technical Director, Martin Hunter visited the AFC Youth Academy this week and RedTV caught up with him to find out more about the visit and the continuing relationship between the youth academies at both clubs.You can watch Martin’s interview by clicking on the red button.

“We’ve got two more sessions this evening and everything has been really good. The responses from the coaches has been excellent and it’s been a pleasure to come up here.”

“It started about four years ago (relationship between clubs) when I had a phone call from Craig Brown, who I’ve known for 20+ years, and he put me in contact with Neil Simpson and Gavin Levey so that was the catalyst for the relationship between Southampton and Aberdeen. They are very similar in terms of stature, similar in historical terms and the values both the clubs have got in youth development mirror each other.

“We think the two clubs are similar in structure as both have rich histories and the staff values and the way they do things are very similar so to work together is not a problem. It’s all ideas shared by both clubs as we learn of what you’re doing here and vice – versa so the mix is really good for the coaches and the players.

“We believe in what we’re doing. We’ve had a set of managers that have believed in promoting youth if they’re good enough. It’s about working hard and trying to find the best young players and working with them in tried and trusted ways off the pitch that gives them a chance to become a professional footballer. It’s not complicated.

“One of the things we constantly talk about is potential into excellence. When you right the word potential, pathway is on top of it, opportunity – so if they’re good enough they’ll get the chance to train and play in the first team and we’ll spend time. We don’t make rash decisions, particularly with the young players so we normally get a boy in at eight years of age and he’ll stay with us for at least four years. You’ve got to spend a lot of time and effort so that they are learning the right things to do on and off the pitch.

“If you look at successful companies and if you look at successful clubs in whatever sport the more you can stay stable and stick with the things you’re doing we think you’ve got a better chance of being successful. It’s certainly helped us through the past few years.

“I’ve been fortunate to work with some really good players, but if you’re pinning me like you are I’d have to say Michael Owen. That was when I was at the FA when he was at the national school. Sometimes the senior boys would be away and the regional coaches would go in and work and I had the privilege along with other coaches of working with him.

“I would say one of the major characteristics of a successful player is that they’re self-driven. If you come up with the percentages we’d say it’s 95% the player and 5% all the help he’s had round him whether that’s parents, guardians or a school teacher there are lots of people that have helped that player along the way, but if they’re self-driven and they really want to get there they’ll do it.

“I’m here because I believe in what this club’s trying to do. I think given the right curriculum, which you’re working at and given the right opportunities I’m sure there are very good Scottish players. There have been in the past and I’m pretty sure and I’m very confident that Aberdeen will produce future players to play on the pitch, maybe not here, but at the new stadium and hopefully for the full Scottish team. I think there’s some very good stuff going on.

“They’re a young squad (England World Cup team) and there are some outstanding individual players. I certainly hope we get out the group stages and once you’re in the knockout stages you’ve got every chance of succeeding. Fingers crossed and if you look at the England youth teams have been achieving, particularly over last season, the future looks very bright for English international players.


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