Darrell Clarke Wants Walsall to Focus on Developing Players for the Future Darrell Clarke Wants Walsall to Focus on Developing Players for the Future

Darrell Clarke Wants Walsall to Focus on Developing Players for the Future

As he begins life at Banks's Stadium, recently-appointed Walsall manager Darrell Clarke has spoken to the local press and discussed how important it is that the Saddlers return to their roots and begin to develop players once again.
Despite being in a region rich in professional football clubs, Walsall FC has a rich history of nurturing the next generation, often bringing them through the various youth ranks before allowing them to leave and test themselves at a higher level.

However, over recent years the club has seen the number of players progressing through the ranks fall as managers opt to direct their playing budget towards the first team. With last season's decision to sign just one of the club's long list of second-year scholars to a deal, with several prospects simply allowed to depart, despite showing clear potential.

Clarke, who recently penned a three-year deal - replacing the sacked Dean Keates - believes it is vital for the club to rebuild its youth set-up and make the most of its development system, a system which has seen players such as Troy Deeney, Will Grigg, Jamie Paterson, Rico Henry and more pass through its doors.

Speaking via the Express & Star, Darrell said; "I think it’s important we get to the traditional Walsall way of building our own players. We’ve got a big rebuilding job to do and it’s not going to be a quick fix that’s for sure.

"I remember when I started with Bristol Rovers in the Conference we didn’t have a great start to the campaign. But you build. Sometimes you bring new players in and it takes a bit of time to adapt.

"But at the same time, you can build a squad of players who then start really, really well. I’m not thinking that very, very quickly it’s going to be a bed of roses. We are going to take some hits but we have to get this club back to where it wants to be."

Mansfield-born Clarke, who enjoyed success with both Salisbury City and Bristol Rovers before arriving in the Black Country, is keen to both develop his own players and also pick up those players who are hungry for success both as an individual, and part of the team.

The 41-year-old played a part in the progress of the likes of Matt Taylor, Billy Bodin and Rory Gaffney during his time at the Memorial Stadium, and feels the key to that success was identifying players who were both hungry to improve and keen to succeed.

Darrell continued; "You want hungry players, players who are hungry for success and who want to bring Walsall success. But they also need to want to have individual success.

"We live in a world where people want to do the best for themselves so you can manage in that way.

"You want players who want to go on and play at the highest level. But first and foremost they have to want to do their utmost for Walsall and to start moving this club forward."
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