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Celebrating EFL Youth Development Week

20 March 2024


Celebrating EFL Youth Development Week

20 March 2024

This week, 18-24 March, marks the EFL Youth Development Week, giving us the perfect opportunity to reflect on the progress of the Morecambe FC Academy.

Latest figures show that EFL Academy-developed players have made over 3,000 appearances so far this season across the Championship, League One, and League Two. With over 210,000 minutes on the pitch, the importance of young players within English football is more apparent than ever.

We caught up with Morecambe FC Academy Manager Stewart Drummond to hear his thoughts on the progress youth football has made over the last few years, and the significance of weeks such as EFL Youth Development Week in shining a light on this work.

"Over the last few years there has been a lot more coverage and spotlight on Youth Development across our game, which is a real positive and highlighted by the work done over the course of the EFL Youth Development Week," he said.

"As those that work in Academies will testify there is a lot of work goes into producing and delivering the Academy programme, much of which does go unseen by the vast majority.

"The final piece of the jigsaw is when supporters get to see home grown players making appearances in 1st Team squads but the years of work carried out by a large number of staff across the various departments of Academies; from Recruitment, Coaching, Sports Science and Medicine, Education and the growing role of Player Care staff all working together to produce players that can eventually reach the professional levels of the game."


Drummond went on to highlight the success stories we have experienced at Morecambe FC over the last few seasons, and the effect that bringing Academy players into the first team set-up has on the development of young players.

"The success stories that do reach the 1st Team are the obvious markers but when we talk about Youth Development it also means taking young players into our Academy and helping them develop physically, socially and emotionally to help prepare them for later life, both inside and outside of football.

"It has been a successful season for our Academy players and graduates with Academy product Adam Mayor being a regular 1st Team starter last season and this one prior to his transfer to Millwall in the January transfer window. Adam passed the 50 appearances marker before moving on and is a great example to our Academy players of the type of pathway open to them.

"A further six Academy players have been in 1st team squads this season, with Cameron Rooney scoring on his debut in the EFL Trophy fixture against Barrow and Saul Fox-Akande making his EFL debut against Colchester a week after making the FA Cup squad away to Swansea. George Pedley, Lennon Dobson and Nathan Mercer have all been in 1st team squads so far with 1st year scholar Adam Fairclough also making the squad in the trip away to Newport recently."

Morecambe vs Colchester 27th January-62.jpg

There is no doubt that some of these young players will go on to make a real impact at Morecambe FC and beyond, with Academy prospects being an integral part of the club's development throughout its history.

For Drummond, maintaining a strong link between the Academy and first team is crucial for the club moving forward.

"There is plenty to look forward to at Morecambe with a crop of promising young players pushing to make that progression and step up into our 1st Team. There has definitely been a more open approach from all at the club to the Academy and see how it can be used to progress the club on and off the pitch by producing players to play in our 1st Team or selling them onto other clubs."

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