New Pompey Academy manager Greg Miller on conversations already held with Danny Cowley and his priority moving forward
New Pompey academy manager Greg Miller admitted conversations with head coach Danny Cowley have already taken place as the duo look to align the academy with the strategy of the first team.
As revealed by The News on Sunday, the appointment of the former head of academy coaching at Barnsley has now been confirmed.
The 45-year-old will take overall charge of the Blues’ youth ranks – a role head of education and player care, Jon Slater, had held since last summer following Mark Kelly’s then switch to become Pompey's player development manager. Kelly has since resigned from that position.
Following his arrival in March, Cowley has spoken of the need to forge a closer bond between the senior team and the academy.
That’s a formula Miller believes is essential, too.
And as he gets to work in his new role on the south coast, the one-time Rangers youth coach said he was delighted to swap ideas and get a greater insight into what Cowley wants in terms of players at the final part of his recent interview process.
Miller said: ‘I was delighted that Danny Cowley was at my final interview, so I had a really good chat with him and the other staff.
‘The academy can be very useful if it’s aligned with the strategy of the entire club and I know he’s very keen for that to happen, as I am.
‘I need to have a good idea of the kind of player characteristics he’s looking for, so we can focus on the attributes that appeal to him.’
The former Hibernian, Livingston, Motherwell, Clydebank, Brechin and Arbroath midfielder added he was looking forward to the challenges ahead.
He confessed its a role he's been wanting for some time.
But just days after it emerged that the club was releasing a large number of its youngsters, Miller said his role was to help those under his tutelage to develop as human beings, not just footballers.
That requires ‘the best environment possible for young people to develop in’.
And Miller stressed no-one should rest on their laurels as he strived to achieve that and drive the academy forward.
He said: ‘It’s a role that I’ve been aspiring towards for some time now and have tried to develop my skill set so I’m equipped for it.
‘Added into the mix, you look at the size of this football club and the potential catchment area for academy players, so it’s a very appealing prospect.
‘First and foremost, I want to ensure we have the best environment possible for young people to develop in – that’s my priority.
‘Of course it would be great if all of them progress through to the first team, but you have to realise that won’t be the case.
‘My job then is to make sure – for the players and their families – that our academy is one that helps them to develop as a human being and as a footballer.
‘On top of that, it’s about maximising the development of the staff and ensuring nobody is resting on their laurels.
‘They may have high levels of qualifications, but that doesn’t mean we can’t constantly be looking to learn.
‘If I can support the development of everyone in the academy and really drive it forwards, then it becomes a safe, fun and educational environment.
‘I’m massively excited because there’s a really nice feel about this place and I’m looking forward to moving down to the area with my family.’