Dougie Freedman looks to bring Bolton Wanderers academy under his wing
DOUGIE Freedman would one day like to see Wanderers merge their academy and first-team bases to make one “super site”.
The Whites boss, who celebrates a year in charge at the Reebok this week, believes the task of monitoring development in the younger players is made more difficult with them reporting to the Lostock academy, some 12 miles away from the senior set-up at Euxton.
Both Liverpool and Manchester City are looking to combine their senior and youth centres in the future and while there are no plans to do so at Wanderers, Freedman, pictured, believes it could benefit the younger players.
“With the two sites being a few miles apart, the academy has been a bit difficult to stay on top of,” he told The Bolton News. “Personally I don’t think it works. But we have already established it and it really is a wonderful site. If I had my way, though, I’d have us a lot closer together. A lot of clubs are moving towards that, I know Liverpool would like to do it, and it makes a lot of sense to me.
“One of the biggest things for me when I was at Crystal Palace was the ability to see these lads every day, ask how their families were, then when they come in to train with me they are very relaxed and there is no fear in their practice drills.
“But down at the academy they know how I feel. I want to get young players in – I’m all for it.”
Freedman is keen to harness the £1million-a-year Eddie Davies Academy, which was given elite status in December last year.
Development squad coach Jamie Fullarton currently acts as the manager’s go-between in the two operations, with the academy headed up by ex-player and caretaker boss Jimmy Phillips.
And the manager is keen to strengthen the link between the two sites by bringing talent into his first team on a more regular basis.
“At the end of the day you have an academy to produce young players and you have a manager who wants to put them through the system,” he said.
“Now if they are good enough they will get round about my team. If they are not, then unfortunately that’s the way life is sometimes. So I leave it to my academy people, based down there unfortunately, to hand me up players when and if they think they are ready.
“Structurally I leave it to them and they have got some good people there, some have been here a long time.
“At the end of the day, football management these days is so all-encompassing these days with the media, the players, the agents, players’ lifestyles, players’ wives, you name it.
“The academy system has been set up here in the right way and they have to stand on their own two feet.
“They have to produce players who are good enough to come up into the first team because that is the key to success here.”