England scrap specialist coaches and make duo redundant

Harris and Kyle joined the Football Association in 2017

Harris and Kyle joined the Football Association in 2017

THE Football Association has scrapped its system of specialist coaches, leading to Richard Kyle and Mikey Harris being made redundant.

Former Technical Director Dan Ashworth and Head of Coaching Matt Crocker introduced the system in April 2016.

It meant that in-possession and out-of-possession coaches were employed to work across the England age groups. Although there was scepticism about the idea to start with, it was identified as one of the factors that helped England enjoy great success at youth level in the next few years.

In 2017, England won World Cups at Under-17 and U20 level, the European Championships at U19 level and also the Toulon Tournament.

However, Les Reed, who succeeded Ashworth as Technical Director at the end of 2018, has never been a believer in the specialist coaching system and financial pressures brought about by Covid-19 accelerated his desire to do away with it.

This has meant the FA's specialist coaches - Aaron Danks (Head of Specialist Coaching), Mikey Harris (in-possession specialist), Richard Kyle (out-of-possession specialist), Tom Curtis (out of possession), Andy Edwards (out of possession), Rob Edwards (in possession) and Mark Robson (in possession) - all having to reapply for their jobs.

Two - Kyle and Harris - have been made redundant so far and will leave the FA at the end of September.

Kyle joined the organisation in 2017, having previously been assistant and first-team coach at Blackpool. The Pro Licence holder has also worked at Academy level at both Blackpool and Everton.

Harris joined the FA in November 2017 from Brighton, where he was Professional Development Phase coach.

In terms of the other specialists, Robson has left to become assistant manager of Peterborough, Rob Edwards is set to be appointed England U16s coach (full list of Head Coaches below), Curtis will be assistant with the Youth Development Phase and Andy Edwards with the Professional Development Phase.

Danks’ position is still under review, TGG understands.

Reed, along with his assistant John McDermott, who joined the FA from Tottenham in March, is introducing a system where the age groups are split into two bands - Youth Development Phase (U15s, U16s and U17s) and Professional Development Phase (U18s, U19s and U20s).

Each age group will have a Head Coach, with an assistant working across the three age groups of the band. There will also be a Phase Lead covering the three age groups of the band (Cochrane for the Youth Development Phase and the U20s coach, who is yet to be appointed, for the Professional Development Phase).

The Head Coaches for the different age groups are listed below. Lee Skyrme remains with the U15s; Cochrane, Betsy and Foster all move up an age group; and Rob Edwards is set to take the U16s, having previously been a specialist coach.

Keith Downing (U19s) and Paul Simpson (U20s) moved to Bristol City to become assistants to Dean Holden last month.

  • U20s: TBC
  • U19s: Ian Foster (up from U18s)
  • U18s: Kevin Betsy (up from U17s)
  • U17s: Justin Cochrane 17s (up from U16s)
  • U16s: Rob Edwards
  • U15s: Lee Skyrme

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