Lachlan Thomson caught up with Clayton Zane to provide Jets fans with insights regarding the club’s youth plans.
Before the 2015/16 Northern New South Wales PS4 National Premier League commences Newcastle Jets Youth Head Coach Clayton Zane looked back at the recently concluded Foxtel National Youth League season and spoke about continuity in retaining the core of the squad for the upcoming NPL season.
Lachlan Thomson (LT): Your team finished second in Conference B of the Foxtel NYL season behind eventual champions Sydney FC. How would you assess the season?
Clayton Zane (CZ): Although it was a very short season we had a successful NYL campaign from a results point of view and the development of the players.
LT: You mentioned player development, and having retained the core of the NYL squad for the NPL, do you look for continuity and progression within the two competitions?
CZ: The short-term view is a year with the long-term view for some of the players potentially being three to four years. It’s important to give the kids 12 months in the program which covers both the NYL and NPL seasons because I feel it is then fair to judge them rather than one or the other.
LT: As a Head Coach do you take a different approach to this competition than you did with the FNYL?
CZ: There are two different challenges and styles of play. The NPL is about the physical and tactical challenges, whereas the NYL is more closely aligned with the A-League in trying to play a nice brand of football and producing technical players. I am looking to see who can use their attributes from the NYL and execute whilst under pressure in the NPL.
LT: Braedyn Crowley and Blake Tuxford train with Scott Miller’s Hyundai A-League squad on a regular basis. What experience do they bring to the squad?
CZ: It is great that we can include them in the squad because the players get to play alongside those who are of a higher calibre, which allows them to measure themselves against their teammates. It is a good opportunity and an eye opener for the players, and our training level rises when they come back as it gives others a chances to build some confidence.
LT: Nick Cowburn progressed from the youth team to the Hyundai A-League squad this season. What example does his transition set for the youth development to elite player pathway?
CZ: It is a big example and Andrew Hoole [now with Sydney FC] was another one last time I was here to come through. At the start of the NYL season he [Cowburn] played the first fixture so it is a reminder to players that just because you get called up for one training, a week’s training or a month’s training, it does not mean you are an A-League player. He [Cowburn] was given a chance here and there with the first team last year and again this year, so it has taken time to make the jump to an A-League player but he has shown the pathway works. It is our job now to make sure we try and get at least a player through every year.
LT: Lastly, what are your expectations for the NPL season?
CZ: We always tend to judge them on what the team did last year and that is our starting point. I want to do a little better with good results and development together. The majority of the squad can play for two to three years so we are not going to judge them too harshly on results because they are very young and inexperienced.
Clayton Zane’s boys begin their NPL season on April 10 away to Weston Workers FC at Rockwell Automation Park. Click here to view the team’s complete schedule of fixtures.
Newcastle Jets 2016 NPL Squad (further players to be added):
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