Thursday, 16 May 2013

Youth and breaking into the first team at AFC Bournemouth

There is no doubt that AFCB is keen to harness and develop local talent. You can see this in its Academy, Youth and Development teams, and its efforts to sign local players like Harry Cornick from Christchurch.

Josh Carmichael, 18, and Jayden Stockley, 19, are two of the young players who have broken into the first team in the past. Another is Dan Strugnell, 20, who this week we have learnt has chosen to moved on to Havant & Waterlooville on a permanent deal. Dan's first team experience was to come on as sub to replace Stephen Purches at Rochdale, in February 2012, when Stephen had his double leg break, but Dan has not had another chance to play for the first team. Loan spells at Bashley and Havant & Waterlooville followed before his decision to now leave AFCB.

Getting such young players to the first team or on the edge of it has proved to be quite a challenge. Now that the club is in the Championship it is likely that the young talent is going to have to be even more exceptional to get an opportunity of the big time.

Joe Partington, who was a Pompey youth player, is probably highest in the pecking order of those who have been developed locally, but he is now 23. It will be of great interest to see if he can become more of a regular face in and around the first team in the next couple of seasons or if he will find loan moves the best way to continue his development. Having been a Welsh U-21 international you would have to say that Joe has the talent to make an impact in the future and hopefully it will be for AFCB as a central defender.

Other 23 year olds at the club include, Matt Ritchie, Donal McDermott, Harry Arter, Josh McQuoid and Eunan O'Kane, while Steve Cook is a year younger. So AFCB does have a youthful squad and youth is not a barrier when you look at 19 year old Ryan Fraser, who was signed in January 2013 from Aberdeen. I think the whole club is excited to see what this young man can do and the stage is really set for him to grab some headlines in the Championship when he gets his opportunity.

At the moment we have a good balance of youth and experience at the club. We will have to wait to see what the squad lacks or doesn't lack next season, but all the time the club will be scouting locally, as well as further afield, to see if better players are available. It should be an exciting summer.


  1. Very difficult for the youth team to get a chance today. Ironically club are spending more on youth development that ever...talent choosing to join afcb should improve with championship status. Previously had to play 2nd fiddle to Saints and Pompey

  2. Training twice a week at under 8's whilst still playing 4 their local club, plus traveling 2 games at Bristol Exeter and Yeovil. I think they (Academys) start too young these days and can take some of the enthusiasm away from the kids by constantly assessing them from an early age. Dropping & taking kids on regularly until they sign at under 9's.

    I know they want to keep hold of the best 1 or 2 that come through but its a lot of pressure on young kids who by 14 or 15 will have had 8 seasons at a club, including 2 at under 7/8 locally, I don't think that brings out the best talent.

    1. I think it s really important that kids enjoy their football. No one should want to put too much pressure on them at an early age. I think it's difficult for parents too as well as the clubs.