St Andrews United manager Phil McGuire has insisted that a youth infrastructure is “crucial” to his long term aims for the club.
Speaking to the Citizen, the new boss insisted that developing the youth players would play a big part towards having a competive squad in the future.
McGuire said: “The youth infrastructure at the club is crucial.
“Hopefully through time I would like to be introducing the 16/17-year-olds into my training and the bench to educate them and give them that extra bit of confidence to go on and get into our first team.
“This way we have the best options of keeping our younger players and hopefully giving them the platform to go on and maybe get into the senior ranks.”
The boss said that training players as young as primary school age was something he was keen to be an active part of.
“It’s something I plan on being involved in from the five-year-olds right through,” he said.
“Once players starting reaching the U15/16s level the game changes for them - their knowledge of the game and awareness and tactical knowledge.
‘‘These things take time, but it’s something I am a massive fan of promoting.”
McGuire said that having a squad where players were battling for a place in the first team is of th eutmost importance.
He said: “My long term aims are geared towards having a competitive squad and squad in depth.
“We need options from the bench and that’s where a squad shows its true value. Players’ performances will go up and down but my aim is to get a good consistency over the course of a season. Sometimes impact players or a freshness around the squad can be the difference from winning, losing or drawing.
“Then from there we should be setting our sights on regaining our Super League place. We have no divine right to do so and will be up against some very competitive teams who feel that they have a chance.
McGuire said that the facilities at the club should help to attract good quality players.
“What I do know is that we have fantastic facilities to train, which most senior clubs can’t even manage,” he said.
“This hopefully helps us secure players and I am keen to introduce a wider market area to attract players from Tayside, Perthshire and surrounding areas.
“We need to break into these areas and attract these players to our club and grow a reputation as a club that is going places.”
In the short term McGuire aims to maximise the talent that he has available within the squad at Recreation Park. “When a team has been struggling, sometimes new ideas and freshness helps them to fulfil their potential as individuals and as a team,” he said.
“Adding some quality signings to the squad again only adds healthy competition for places which we have lacked and improves the team as a whole as this increases an individuals efforts and improves them as players.”