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23 March 2024



23 March 2024

As part of the EFL's Youth Development Week, Jon Worthington sat down to discuss the success of our Academy and it's future

- Jon Worthington discusses our Young Terriers
- Interview on the success and future of our Academy
- Celebrating EFL Youth Development Week

Jon Worthington is only too happy to take EFL Youth Development Week as an opportunity to reflect on the work the club have done through their B team set-up over the past few years and what still lays ahead at an exciting time for the club’s youth system.

On top of coaching the next generation of potential Town stars in the current system, Worthy and the rest of the Academy staff have been hard at work over the past few months working on our planned re-introduction of younger age groups to the Academy system.

Chairman Kevin Nagle announced that as one of his top priorities at his first press conference after taking over the club last June, 

Naturally, that was music to Worthy’s ears not just in his current role as Academy Manager, but as a proud graduate of the club’s Academy himself.

He said: “Everyone is well aware of the intent of the owner to reconnect with the community and the local area, and to go through this process to re-introduce the 9-16 programme at Huddersfield.

“It’s a really exciting project and something that I’m really passionate about as well, obviously having come through as an 8-year-old myself locally.

“I think it’s fantastic that we’re working through this process, and hopefully we can get to that point.

“From day one when Kevin took over the club, he’s shown real intent in terms of prioritising the Academy and wanting to support that.”

Worthington also explained what the club have been working on behind-the-scenes all season, saying: “The initial process was an application for re-categorisation from Category 4 to Category 3, and that’s been an ongoing process throughout the year.

“We’ve been audited and just recently had our audit report, which is extremely successful and extremely positive, so it’s put us in an excellent position moving forward.

“We’re expecting hopefully to have some confirmation around May time, subject to approval from the [governing body] board. We’re really looking forward to it and it’s really exciting what a fantastic project we’ve got to look forward to designing and implementing.

“We’re obviously at the early stages of that and hopefully we can be more expansive on that and the ideas we have in the summer publicly - but there’s lots of hard work going on in the background from my staff currently.

“It’s a really skilled set of staff with a variety of experiences. Oran [Thompson] and George [Danaher] have been scholars, they’ve been first year pros.

“They have gone through that process and can relate to the boys coming through – more so than me, because it was quite a while ago since I came through as a 16-17 year old!

"I think that’s a really important skill set to have, as well as being really talented coaches as well.”

Town have introduced a long list of young players to first team football under the B team system.

That includes players who have been involved in the First Team this season like Brodie Spencer, Jaheim Headley, Brahima Diarra, Ben Jackson, Pat Jones, and Tom Iorpenda, as well as providing important first steps in the careers of players who have since departed the Club like Etienne Camara, Nicholas Bilokapic, Romoney Crichlow, and Rarmani Edmonds-Green

“As a group of staff we’re really proud of players that make debuts,” Worthington added. “Over the last four seasons we’ve had 30 debuts, which is a really impressive stat and something that as a group of staff, and as a club, we’re really proud of.

“Ultimately it’s about can they kick on and have careers, but there’s a lot of players who have done that and progressed, and are starting to clock up lots of appearances for the First Team, which is really positive.

“It’s exciting times and we’ve got a few others in the wings as well.

“We’ve been fortunate to have been able to really refine our model of 16-21s with the B Team model, and develop a programme that’s been proven to be successful.

“The next step is to engage again and bring back the 9-16s programme. That’s what makes it really exciting.”

Worthy also had some advice for any youngsters who might fancy their chances of living the dream at Town in future.

“Character is really important,” he said. “Good character and attitude are first and foremost the key elements.

“Ultimately that’s the difference that will keep you in the game for longer and get you a career, so those are the key attributes for any young player and any professional.

“Couple that with ability, and it definitely gets you noticed.”

Town supporters can find out more about our Academy staff as part of the EFL's Youth Development Week by CLICKING HERE!

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