American duo are real inspiration - Elliott
Wanderers’ American duo Stuart Holden and Tim Ream can inspire the next generation of footballers stateside, according to former Whites defender Robbie Elliott.
The 38-year-old now divides his time between his native Tyneside and the US, coaching at both the Nike academy base in Portland, Oregon, and with youth footballers in the ranks of the US Soccer Federation.
And he believes the country will continue to make great strides and produce more Holdens and Reams while European clubs like Wanderers offer American players a chance.
Both players have impressed at the Reebok Stadium, though midfielder Holden spent last year on the sidelines with injury.
But Elliott, who can sympathise with the 26-year-old after suffering a double leg fracture on his home debut for Wanderers in 1997, believes their success, and that of internationals like Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan, in the Premier League is a huge incentive for the crop he currently coaches.
Elliott, pictured, said: “The development in the last few years is there for all to see in America.
“Where once we had 80 per cent college players to work with and 20 per cent professionals, it has flipped right round now.
“I work as a performance coach with young men and women for the US Federation and they are improving all the time.
“It’s a massive boost to have American players in England and other European leagues doing well because that can show these youngsters what can be achieved. The likes of Stuart Holden can be big role models.
“The training is more professional and the quality is improving all the time.
“If they know there could be a move to Europe then that only helps their desire to succeed.”
Elliot, who spent four years with the Whites, believes the growth of the English game has played its part in developing US talent.
A host of top-flight British clubs travel across the Atlantic for their pre-season preparation now, as well as Italian and Spanish giants like Real Madrid and AC Milan.
Wanderers themselves spent successive training camps in North America in 2010 and 2011.
And the man who made more than 100 appearances for the Whites says that is fantastic for youngsters coming through.
Elliott added: “The youngsters all know about the Premier League because it’s globally televised now and so many Americans play there.
“But having teams visit and for the kids to see them in the flesh is something else.
“A lot of youth sides come over as well – I recently worked with Man United youngsters as part of my role at the Nike academy in Portland. If it keeps progressing, I’m sure more Stuart Holdens and Tim Reams will make the trip across the Atlantic and succeed.”