The latest events from the Millers' youth department...
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Millers appoint Sheron
Rotherham United have appointed former Manchester City and Barnsley striker Mike Sheron as Head of Academy Coaching.
Mike, who enjoyed a successful playing career in the top two divisions of English football also brings with him a wealth of coaching experience with Manchester City, Bury, Oldham Athletic and most recently Liverpool, with roles varying from junior coach to reserve team manager.
“It’s something I’ve done before,” Mike told Millers Player. “It’s something I said I wouldn’t do again unless it’s a club with progression and this is a club that definitely looks like it wants to progress forward. From my first meeting with Paul Douglas, and then with the manager and the lads here it’s obvious these are all people wanting to do the best for Rotherham United and I want to be part of that team.”
Mike will join up with Academy Manager Garreth Barker to lead the Millers’ youth department to complete a change of personnel over the summer. It has been a productive year for Rotherham, with academy graduates making their first-team debuts in the last 12 months, and duo Tony Thompson and defender Daniel Rowe both being frequent names on the substitutes bench.
“It’s a very interesting role and one I’m really looking forward to. It’s a club with some really talented players in the system and I now want to try and help that and get some of the lads into the first team and making a couple of hundred appearances ideally. Hopefully I’ll have a good part of the development that will get the lads through to the first team.
“I’ve come across Garreth before and I like his sides and the way he goes about things. He’s very passionate about his football, he’s a determined character and those traits will pass onto the lads.”
Fenton injury concern for Millers
Rotherham United will be hoping for a speedy recovery for Jake Fenton after he was withdrawn during the 4-3 victory over Hartlepool United.
The Millers’ youngsters recorded their first victory of the campaign but lost Fenton to an Achilles injury, adding to a long list of casualties at the start of the campaign.
“Jake Fenton had a tackle down on his Achilles, after he was caught illegally in possession,” confirmed Academy Manager Garreth Barker.
“He tried to carry on but it soon became obvious that he couldn't run, so we had to change things.
“We had a number of under 16s being drafted into the squad as a result of the injuries we have had, and they have had to play a part. Despite the step-up they have all done well, and as I have previously said earlier in the season it has helped with their development.”
There was better news on the injury front though for Barker with Ally Watson returning from injury, and he grabbed a goal along with Andy Norfolk and James Cadman (2) in the 4-3 victory.
Millers hoping to have Ally back
Academy Manager Garreth Barker will be hoping to have Ally Watson available again ahead of the clash with Scunthorpe United.
The midfielder has been one of a number of players forced onto the sidelines as the Millers fight through an early season injury crisis.
With three under 16s drafted into the squad for the opening game with Lincoln City, Barker’s selection dilemmas could be helped with the return of Watson for the trip to Scunthorpe on Saturday (17/08/13).
“Ally’s injury wasn’t quite as serious as some of the others we have picked up and we are hopeful of welcoming him back soon,” said Barker.
“It has been a tough start to the season, but it has allowed us the opportunity to have a look at a number of under 16s in the under 18s side, and they have impressed the staff with their application and performances.”
Barker has also been without Conor Bell, Jerry Yates and Alex Wiles who have all suffered with injury so far this season.
Chairman joins Academy for team photo
Rotherham United Chairman Tony Stewart joined the next generation of Millers stars for the annual Youth Team photo.
The Chairman joined Academy Manager Garreth Barker and Chief Operating Officer Paul Douglas for the annual snap, whilst it was the first time in front of the camera for the new Academy first-year scholars.
“The lads were in the dressing room for a long time in preparation, there was some serious styling being done in there,” joked Barker.
“I would like to thank the Chairman and Chief Operating Officer for joining us. Both are very busy people so it was terrific that they could join us, and for me it demonstrates that they are committed to youth development, and helping us nurture the home grown talent we have at this club.”
New season underway
Rotherham United's Academy have kicked off their new campaign.
Despite suffering from an early season injury crisis, Garreth Barker's young chargers put in a credible display against Lincoln City before being narrowly defeated 1-0.
Academy Manager Checks In
Rotherham United have appointed Garreth Barker as the new Academy Manager.
Barker joins the Millers after a spell in the Academy setup at Bolton Wanderers and brings with him a wealth of coaching experience, and explains how the future of the club sold him on his decision to join.
“It’s an exciting period for the football club, there’s good development with the new stadium and a new training ground coming in the next 12 months or so. For the academy, we’ve got a great move to Sheffield Hallam University at a purpose built facility, and there’s some excellent staff here which is very good for me. It’s a fantastic opportunity and I hope I’ll be able to be here for a long time.
He started his coaching career with Crewe Alexandra and has since held coaching positions in the youth structures at Morecambe, Preston North End and Wigan Athletic.
After leaving Wigan he joined Blackpool where he held the position of Assistant Head of Youth, whilst also taking the position of acting Head of Youth.
He joined Bolton’s Academy in 2011 but moved to the Millers to head up the Academy at a time where the club confirmed two professional contracts to Academy graduates Nicky Walker and Tony Thompson only last month.
“I was at Crewe Alexandra which was a good education for me, and then part-time at Port Vale and some non-league football. I had four or five seasons at Blackpool working from reserve team level to managing the Centre of Excellence before a couple of years at Bolton Wanderers in a Cat 1 Academy. But because I wanted a senior position and the chance to be in charge myself, accepted the position here when I was offered it at Rotherham.
“I have absolutely no ambition to work in a first-team environment. I’ve done it in the past, having been around reserve team football; I made it clear I wouldn’t want to be a manager because I don’t know how you’d put up with the stresses that involves, youth development is very much where I want to be in my career.
“Under 18s is a great challenge, it’s the transitional period from schoolboy football to men’s football, and it’s crucial we get this right, getting the lads into reserve team football and further, and who knows maybe in future we can look towards a Cat 1 or Cat 2 Academy and have an Under 21s for the lads.
Barker replaces former Academy Manager Steve Moss who has left the club alongside Head of Academy Coaching Tony Mee, who has taken up a position with York City. Rotherham United would like to thank Steve and Tony for their hard work and commitment whilst being with the club, and we wish them well for the future.
Millers make decision on youngsters
Rotherham United have signed eight first year scholars for next season.
Defenders Luke Gibson, Max Hallett and Mason Warren, midfielders Alex Wiles and Jake Fenton and attackers Andrew Norfolk, Jerry Yates and Adam Johnson have all signed for next season to join up with this season’s first year scholars.
Gibson, Hallett, Wiles, Norfolk, Yates and Johnson have been promoted from the Millers under 16s squad, whilst Warren signs from Doncaster and Fenton is a former Newcastle United schoolboy who was signed after being seen at the Football League end of season exit trials.
“We held the new scholar induction (Monday) and sat down with the eight players who will be given scholarships,” said Head of Academy Coaching Tony Mee.
“We held a big meeting which was attended by members of the youth department, Chief Operating Officer Paul Douglas and John Barton from the LFE (League Football Education), where we discussed football and also the education side of the scholarship which is vitally important.
“We now have a squad of 18 for next season which is the maximum you can receive funding for from the LFE, but this can be supplemented by under 16s and trialists if necessary.”
Luke Beedham, Laurence McKay, Dominic Hart, Giorgio Williams, John Travis and Phil Woods have come to the end of their two year scholarships and have been released.
“It is always tough when you have to tell players they are being released, especially this year with the likes of Dominic Hart and Phil Woods being with the club from such a young age,” added Mee.
“Phil, Dominic and Laurence McKay have been offered scholarships to play in America, so they now have the opportunity to play abroad. Everyone in the youth department would like to wish all the lads the best for the future.”
TRC reach College Cup-Final
Rotherham will be represented in a national cup semi-final as Thomas Rotherham College have overcome a string of opponents to make it to the last four. The team, coached by Millers’ youth coach Matt Hamshaw have come through two lengthy trips with flying colours, leading to a tie in the semis.
“I’ve been doing the scheme since October when I started this position with Rotherham United. We went to Swansea where we won 5-0. We played teams from Mansfield, Barnsley, Swansea and London and the teams in the semis with us are from Durham, Manchester and one who plays out of Bisham Abbey.”
With it not always being clear the potential some youngsters will fulfil at the age of 16, the Goals scheme at TRC takes players who haven’t been awarded scholarships and gives them the chance to continue playing alongside their studies.
“We’ve got three players who have been with Rotherham United as youngsters and weren’t given scholarships, but you do get late developers and during half-term they spend time with the Millers youth team and this scheme allows us to monitor players who missed out at 16 years-old.”
A former Miller has benefited from the scheme in the past, and although it wasn’t with Rotherham United or TRC, Marcus Marshall was picked up by Blackburn at a later age after playing for his college side. Closer to home and Jamie Vardy began the scheme before opting to play non-league football for Stocksbridge Park Steels.
“We perhaps didn’t think they were ready for scholarships, but they can develop physically and technically after the age of 16 and that’s why we like to keep an eye on them and as well as doing some training, they will play a few youth team games. It’s just a way for us to broaden the way we look for players. We do have the option then to sign players straight to professional deals at the age of 18.”
Millers Matchday recently featured Brad Sowerby who was called up for the England Colleges representational side, but Hamshaw believes there are a number of other talents elsewhere within the side.
“Since the scheme has been running I don’t think they’ve got past the second round so I’m really pleased with them. We’ve got Brad who got into the English college team, and then there’s Ryan Carroll the big striker, and James Hoyle a right-back who have played a big part, but there’s a lot of boys who were already at the college who are doing really well. What makes us different is that all the boys are doing a BTEC course, but our lads are all doing their A-Levels alongside playing football every day.”