Awford still on course with youngsters

Jed Wallace and Adam Webster had benefited from Andy Awford's youth coaching. Picture: Joe Pepler
Jed Wallace and Adam Webster had benefited from Andy Awford's youth coaching. Picture: Joe Pepler
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His focus may now be at senior level but Andy 
Awford will never lose his love for developing young talent.

And that is an area he will continue to focus on, despite his elevation to Pompey’s first-team manager.

With his task of keeping the Blues in the Football League completed, Awford was dispatched to the FA’s home at St George’s Park in the wake of the campaign finishing.

The purpose of his visit there was to pick up his latest coaching qualification which focuses on working with emerging players. It meant there has been no let-up for the Pompey boss despite the season ending.

But it is a commitment he is willing to make.

Awford said: ‘The qualification will be good to have. It’s another string to the bow.

‘It’s the FA Advanced Youth Award. I think in a couple of years all academy coaches will have to have this award.

‘People understand now that professional football is not just about what you see at 3pm on a Saturday.

‘There is an awful lot which goes into it.’

Awford’s stock with the FA continues to be at a high level with his prowess as an academy coach noted there.

He is full of ideas when it comes to the way forward with working with young players.

Awford acknowledged his own shortcomings when he first worked on that side of the game after hanging up his own boots.

But he now realises there are a lot of areas to consider in youth coaching.

That was something highlighted on the course he undertook.

He said: ‘It’s based around a four-corner model we use in youth football.

‘That’s physical, psychogical, social and technical/tactical.

‘Basically they are saying that when you are planning a football session you need to allow for all of those involvements.

‘It can’t just be about passing and moving, which is something I was guilty of a long time ago.

‘With kids you have to encompass everything.

‘It’s about blending all of those in.

‘There are a lot of skills in those four corners needed.’