Skyrme leaves FA to become Southampton Individual Player Coach

Skyrme had worked for the Football Association for almost five years

Skyrme had worked for the Football Association for almost five years

SOUTHAMPTON have hired Lee Skyrme from the Football Association to become their B team Individual Player Coach.

Skyrme effectively replaces David Hughes, who left his role as Head of Academy Player Development after 16 months in December 2020 to become Head of Academy Coaching at Cardiff.

As TGG has previously reported, there is a growing trend of clubs appointing Individual Development Coaches to work with players on a one-to-one basis.

This can include creating bespoke development plans that incorporate the physical, tactical, technical and mental needs of a particular player; one-to-one work during training; bespoke analysis using video and data; and liaising with the rest of the staff to ensure individual needs are being met.

This has been regarded as particularly important for players making the transition from Academy to senior level. As Huddersfield Head of Football Operations Leigh Bromby told TGG in 2019: “Traditionally, development can sometimes stall when a player makes the move to the first team.”

Nicky Butt at Manchester United, Vitor Matos at Liverpool, Carlos Cuesta at Arsenal and Rhys Carr at Sheffield United all fulfil this individual development role, albeit in slightly different ways depending on the requirements of their clubs.

Southampton introduced a B team at the start of this season, which mirrors the first team in terms of style of play and approach.

Uefa Pro Licence holder Skyrme was Under-15s coach with England from June 2019 and had been a specialist coach with the U17s for three years before that and won the World Cup with them in 2017.

Prior to that he was a Professional Development lead at Exeter and Cardiff. Southampton’s Director of Football Operations, Matt Crocker, knows Skyrme well from his time as Head of Coaching and Development at the FA.

Southampton Academy Director Matt Hale said: “We are moving to a more specialist coaching model within the Academy structure, and Lee will bring this specialism with him having worked in a similar way at the FA with the England teams.

“Our plans going forward are to ensure players have bespoke individual development plans, which will help them develop further in their own areas and aligned with the B team and first-team playing philosophy. The appointment of an individual coach in the B team reflects this focus.

“We welcome Lee to the football club, in an exciting new role and look forward to seeing the progress in the young professionals we have through this new model.”

The FA have not yet announced whether or how they will replace Skyrme. These are the current England age group coaches:

  • U21s: Aidy Boothroyd
  • U20s: Lee Carsley
  • U19s: Ian Foster
  • U18s: Kevin Betsy
  • U17s: Justin Cochrane
  • U16s: Rob Edwards
  • U15s: TBC

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