Dyer Handed New Role at Academy
Sunday, 16th Jul 2017 19:55
Blues legend Kieron Dyer has been handed the role of assistant U16s coach at the Town academy.
Ipswich-born Dyer, 38, came through the club’s youth set-up in the mid-nineties and has remained close to the academy as a long-term sponsor as well as having previously spent time coaching after hanging up his boots in the summer of 2013.
“I’m the assistant U16s coach in a part-time role working with Adem Atay,” Dyer told TWTD.
“He oversees the U16s and all the way down to the U9s and is doing a fantastic job. It’ll be good to learn from him and vice versa, we feed off each other quite well.”
Atay, 31, was also an academy and reserves player with Town prior to spells in Turkey and in local non-league before returning to Playford Road as a coach.
“Adem is basically taking the same route as Liam Manning [now at West Ham] and I think he’s as good as Liam Manning, they’re both very good coaches,” the former England international added.
“They’ve got a very good way with the kids, they can relate to the kids, which is half the job.”
Dyer says his previous stint coaching at the academy, when he also worked with the U16s, was brought to a halt by bureaucracy.
“The FA are quite strict and say you need certain qualifications to be involved with the academy and I didn’t have any of my badges then,” he continued. “So I’ve taken a couple of years off to do my badges and I’ve now got my B Licence.
“I went in to see how the boys were doing in pre-season, the youth team, and [academy manager] Lee O’Neill and [head of coaching and player development] Bryan Klug asked me what my situation was and whether I wanted to come back in and help with the U16s because they said they need people of my stature back in the club helping the kids.
“I said yes. They said they had to OK it with Mick [McCarthy] and Mick was completely fine with it and is happy for me to come on board, and I’ve been really enjoying it.”
He added: “I’m happy to come in and help and hopefully this is a start for me and I can start progressing up through the ranks.
“The club’s in a great place with Alan Lee as the [U18s] academy coach and Gerard Nash running the U23s and so on but that’s the next step I’d like to take, one day to become an [U18s] academy coach and then hopefully become an U23 coach, work my way up.”
He says there was recently interest from elsewhere: “I kind of got offered a job at Cardiff to work in their academy in the summer. Nothing official but I know Neil Warnock well and [close friend] Craig Bellamy is there now working in the academy.
“I got a phone call saying asking if I fancied coming into the academy, but I didn’t really want to move to Cardiff and plus I think Neil Warnock has said that this is his last season or one of his last seasons and a lot can change, new people come in and then you’re out of a job, so it wasn’t right at the time.”
Dyer was joined by his former Town and Newcastle United team-mate Titus Bramble, also now a coach at the academy, as he worked for his B Licence at Playford Road towards the end of last season.
“We did it together, which was quite funny and it probably helped us a lot,” he recalled.
“We did our assessment together, half an hour after each other, I had the first hour and he had the second hour, but we did all our classes and courses together.
“It probably helped us along, he was looking at all my notes to get tips, but I wasn’t looking at his to be honest! We fed off each other and it was good.
“We got Needham Market’s academy in to the training ground and we used their U18s players.
“Their coaching staff were very understanding and the players were as good as gold because they were at the training ground all day. They were basically like guinea pigs for us and it was a long day for them, but they were brilliant.
“We passed and we can now apply for our A and Pro Licences, which will be the next thing.”
Dyer’s new role saw him make a surprise return to playing action in the annual friendly at Southwold earlier this month.
“My first training session was the on the Tuesday before the Southwold game and we had an U23 game the day after and we also had a lot of the U18s squad going over to Ireland with the first team, Tristan Nydam, Flynn Downes, Ben Morris and Conor McKendry,” he explained.
“We knew that a lot of the youth team would be playing in the U23 game and therefore we were going to send a lot of the 16-year-olds to Southwold, three of four were involved in the game.
“When you put on sessions you give instructions but it’s also better when you can demonstrate, so I thought I’d get my boots on and show the U16s with actions as well as just words.
“I think it went quite well, they were happy that they were playing with me and they got a lot out of it.
“I felt it a bit the next day. I felt good at the time, I was thinking ‘Bloody hell, the way I’m playing I might be able to get in the first team!’.
“But when I woke up the next day and the day after that and I was still aching I realised that’s not for me.
“When I got to the end of my career, where it took other people one or two days to recover, I was still feeling soreness and stiffness after three or four days.
“It wasn’t the injuries, it was just when I’d play games because I’m a high intensity player. It was what’s called 'delayed muscle soreness', it took me so long to recover.
“That then means it’s a vicious circle because you can’t train for two or three days to maintain your sharpness.”
The former midfielder hopes to see a number of academy products push on and their cement places in the first team during the season to come.
Most familiar to fans is Andre Dozzell, who was a member of the England U19s team which won the European Championships yesterday, while Dyer is a long-term fan of Nydam - who he jokingly refers to as ‘Tristan Dyer’ due to their similar styles - and Downes, who has caught Blues boss McCarthy’s eye in recent months.
Dyer was impressed with Dozzell’s displays at the Euros in Georgia: “I watched most of the games, I didn’t see the final because I moved house and my Sky wasn’t set up, but apparently he did very well.
“They are kids but they’re not kids, if you know what I mean, because if you want to go on to the next stage they can’t be treated as kids any more, they’ve got to be men now. Yes, they’ve got potential but they’ve got to realise that potential.
“I’ve been beating on the Tristan and Andre drum for a long time now and, again, actions speak louder than words. This season they’ve really got to kick on, they’ve got to break into the team and hopefully stay in the team.
“Flynn, two years ago he was in my U16s, again he had great potential but was a bit behind Andre and Tristan at the time.
“But he’s come on leaps and bounds. In pre-season I hear he’s been absolutely flying, winning all the long distance races, he was ahead on all the running stats and in training in Ireland I heard he was outstanding, which is good for him and he’s another one to look out for.
“But I’ve been saying this about our kids for a while, I said this about Teddy Bishop, and it just seems that they can’t sustain a place in the team.
“Hopefully they can start turning potential into the real thing and establish themselves in the team because there’s nothing more pleasing for academy coaches - and fans - than seeing youth team players come through, like with Tommy Smith.
“It was a shame because I thought that last season’s youth team could have had a good run in the FA Youth Cup because they had a midfield three of Andre, Tristan and Flynn, who are all now on the border of the first team.
“But Tristan wasn’t fit [for their exit at Nottingham Forest], which took a lot out of the youth team. Those three are the next batch to come through, fingers crossed.”
Does he believe it’s harder for young players to break into first teams now than when he made his debut for George Burley's side as a sub at Crystal Palace on Boxing Day 1996 aged 17?
“There obviously weren’t as many foreigners in English football when we were playing but, and I don’t want to sound big-headed, if I was a 17-year-old today with the same ability and potential I had, I think I would break into Ipswich Town’s first team and stay in it.
“Maybe that’s why I broke in so early, because I had that kind of confidence that once I’d get in there I’d stay in there. And again, all our young kids on the border have got to find that inner belief.
“They can’t use age or that they’re a kid any more, you’ve got to realise that you’re good enough.
“You’ve seen Andre, he’s playing with Chelsea’s superstars and Arsenal’s superstars [in the England U19s], Chelsea have won the FA Youth Cup for the last four years.
“I know [Chelsea youngsters] Mason Mount, Trevoh Chalobah and Dujon Sterling, all these top, top players and in the first two games I watched he was the best player on the pitch by miles. He’s got to start realising that potential now. It’s a big year for him.”
Reflecting further on Town’s season ahead, he added: “We need a quick start, the signings so far look promising.
“I was up at the training ground watching the behind closed doors friendly against Southend last week and Joe Garner scored two fantastic goals.
“A small lad but tenacious and very good in the air. He’ll be a good addition to the squad. Flynn Downes came on in the second half and was outstanding, so we’ll see.”
Dyer doesn’t want to mention the U16s he is working with alongside Atay by name at such a relatively early stage in their development, but is confident there is more talent coming through behind the likes of Dozzell, Nydam and Downes.
“I don’t want to single out players in the U16s but the future’s bright, put it that way.”
Photos: TWTD/Larry McQuillan/Drogheda United
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