In-form Youth side sets sights on Adelaide
National Youth League coach Craig Deans takes time out to speak about the young Jets' season so far.
Like their Hyundai A-League counterparts, the Newcastle Jets Youth side left the Sydney Football Stadium on Sunday boasting a 3-1 win from their travels.
The triumph over the 2008/09 National Youth League (NYL) champions capped a stellar month for the junior Jets, with three wins from four games a deserved reward for Craig Deans- side.
Deans took time from his busy schedule this week to speak with NewcastleJets.com.au about his goals for the team leading into the second half of the season, suggesting blood, sweat and tears is the only recipe for football success, and outlining his ambitions as a manager.
Newcastle Jets (NJ): Craig, you must have been happy with the team-s performance against Sydney on Sunday, and over the past month?
Craig Deans (CD): I-m really happy with the way we played (against Sydney). I think we were disappointing against Gold Coast the round beforehand and I think it was important for the boys to go back to what they were doing the previous couple of games and get another win. They all did exactly what they were asked and they got the result they deserved.
NJ: The NYL table is much like the Hyundai A-League ladder - a couple of wins or losses can see you up the top or near the bottom. What-s the goal from here?
CD: We just need to keep going with what we-ve been doing so far in terms of how we want the boys to play and where we expect them to be individually and as a team. I think at this stage I-d like to be a little further up the table which would obviously give them a bit more confidence, but I think we-re all learning quite quickly that what we want them to do is to put what we teach into practice. I think if they keep going the way they are there-s no reason we can-t move closer to the top four, and it-d be nice for them if they got the opportunity to play in the finals.
NJ: There are some great talents in the team and the NYL is all about developing and grooming youngsters for Hyundai A-League level. Can we expect to see some of the guys making a name for themselves in the first team soon?
CD: I-d like to think some of them will get a chance but that will be up to Branko (Culina). I think all they can do is keep training and playing well and the better results they get in games people will take a bit more notice. There are probably half a dozen players that have got the ability to progress to the A-League and they just need to do week in, week out as best they can, and they-ll get their chance when the time-s right.
NJ: What advice would you give to local footballers who aspire to one day progress through the Jets- NYL program?
CD: There-s no secret ingredient to being a good footballer other than hard work. It-s what everyone says and it sounds quite boring but the fact that everyone says it obviously means it has a bit of truth to it. If you-ve got natural ability that obviously helps you but especially in Australia it-s a physical and athletic league, so we need to look at those aspects and also if a player is mentally capable. The challenge is to find a player who-s got one of those three ingredients and then add the other ones to it. So I think for all young kids they just need to work hard on whatever part of the game it is they think they need to work on and as with all things you get what you deserve if you put enough work into it. The goal not just for this club but for this region and the people who work at the grassroots level is to make sure they produce players that I - or whoever is the coach of Jets Youth - have to pick into the Youth team.
NJ: You-ve not long turned to coaching having retired from playing professionally for the Jets two-years-ago. What are your goals as a coach, Craig?
CD: I-m in no rush to be something that I-m not at the moment. I-m happy being the Youth team Coach and I-ve got a good opportunity to learn from the senior coaches within the club. I think you get what you deserve when you-re ready to get it and obviously I-d like to keep going up in the coaching ranks, but I-m in no rush.
Newcastle Jets Youth take on Adelaide United Youth this Friday night at Hindmarsh Stadium. NewcastleJets.com.au will have a post match report available following the completion of the match.