Hull City academy boss Billy Russell confident of holding on to new stars
HULL City academy manager Billy Russell is confident the club is now producing enough young players capable of breaking into the first team.
And he is hopeful the Tigers can hold on to emerging stars going forward, despite the impending introduction of football's new Elite Player Performance Plan, which will make it easier for Premier League sides to poach players.
Six graduates – Tom Cairney, Liam Cooper, Mark Cullen, Sonny Bradley, Danny East and Jamie Devitt – all played for the Tigers during 2011-12, while Danny Emerton and Joe Cracknell also made it is far as the substitutes' bench.
Russell says that is evidence of the club making great strides in its youth development, and insists the club is confident of much more to come.
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"We have made giant strides as a football club in the last decade, but we know we always have to keep improving," Russell told the Mail.
"It's not all about facilities. It's about people."
Speaking in an extensive interview in today's Game On, Russell says it is important youth players at the club win international call-ups, as defender Max Clark has done recently with England under-16s and under-17s, and see a route to first-team football is available.
"We're going to have a new board here naming all the boys who have come through the Centre of Excellence and gone on to play in the first-team," he said.
"It'll be a case of 'Who's next?' for all the boys here and that's a great challenge for them."