Huddersfield Town vow to upgrade Academy following takeover

Huddersfield went from Category Four to Two in 2017

Huddersfield went from Category Four to Two in 2017

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN have committed to upgrade their Academy following the takeover by American businessman Kevin Nagle.

The Terriers downgraded their youth set-up from Category Two to Four in September 2017, meaning they now only run sides at Under-17 and U19 levels. However, Nagle announced his intention to reverse that decision and run younger sides after taking over last month.

He said: “It's critical to develop your own players, especially after Brexit.”

Now new Sporting Director Mark Cartwright, who came in at the start of July, has expanded on that ambition. He said: “This isn’t going to happen overnight, this is probably a 12-month process.

"You need to let the EFL know you’ve got this in mind and I think the deadline is coming up pretty soon. We’ll have to sit down with [Academy Manager] Jon Worthington as well and put a real plan in place to open up those age groups, and make sure the training ground is compliant with those rules and regulations as well.

"It’s not a case of clicking your fingers and saying, ‘Right, we’ve re-opened the academy’. We do have to take an approach of sticking within the EFL rules and guidelines and making sure we have everything in place.

"In America in they like to build in the community and be a community type of club, and I think this is a good step forward to doing that. t’s also nice…I’ve been there when a local lad comes through and breaks into the first team, the way the fans buy into that as well.

"That’s five, six years off yet, but it’s good to see the building blocks are in place. The gap between the Academy and the first team is huge. There has to be that area in the middle.

"I think where Huddersfield have done very well is bringing the players through into the B team but then loaning them out and getting them the game experience they need to come back and make the step up.

"That’s where you’re seeing the success with the lads at the moment: they’ve all got games under their belt and know what it means to win a game of football, what it means to people when you lose a game of football, and I think that background is vital in a player."

Cartwright was previously Technical Director at Stoke City, from 2012 to 2020. He referenced the work that the Potters had done in youth development in outlining Huddersfield's ambitions, although it is worth pointing out that the Potters only placed 52nd in our Academy Productivity Rankings for 2021/22 - the second lowest of any Category One club (behind only Burnley).

Cartwright said: "[Stoke City owners] the Coates family are from Stoke so they’re very much about developing players through the Academy, and we were given the opportunity to go and find some good players.

"We didn’t spend ridiculous money. I think Nathan Collins cost us €25,000 and they sold him for £15 to £20m a few years later. We had a good period of time there but it took us a little bit of time to build.

“When I left they had probably… I want to say eight or nine players that had come through that system, they had Harry Souttar and Nathan Collins that got sold for big big big money, and they’ve actually then since had the sell-on fee as well so they’ve earned again.

"Then they’ve got players like Tyrese Campbell that are still in the first team, Joe Bursik they’ve sold…it’s good for the club if you can develop and get them in the first team, sell them, and then reinvest that money back into the infrastructure or into the squad. I think that’s what we’re going to want to build here."

Brentford, who pulled out of the EPPP system in 2016, will re-enter at Category Four level for 2023/24.

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