Scott Sellars spoke of his pride at taking over managerial duties of Wolves Academy and is excited to stamp his mark on the set-up, having progressed through the club himself in recent years.
The former Premier League midfielder has been under-23s head coach and Academy head of player development, and this week officially replaced the departing Gareth Prosser as head of Academy. Sellars has clear views of how the Wolves Academy can continue its rapid progression of recent years, alongside that of the club, and Wolves’ players of tomorrow appear in safe hands.
On an exciting opportunity
“For myself firstly, I’m obviously very proud and it’s an Academy I’ve really enjoyed working for. The club’s in a great place, and also the Academy over the time I’ve been here has been successful, but we’re not resting on our laurels, and are still trying to move forward with a lot to progress.
“But from a personal point of view, I’m really proud, and for the whole Academy to see somebody from within to be promoted, it hopefully shows that we’re not just an Academy which develops players, but people as well.”
On using his Academy experience
“As an Academy, we all work closely together. As well as being the under-23 coach, I spent nights coaching the younger players, watching the under-16s, the under-12s and helping players. I think we all have that mentality of ‘mucking in’, so I don’t see anything really changing that much. I’ll still be doing that, still working with younger players, but I’m now in charge of overseeing it all.”
On Academy continuity
“I’ve worked really closely with Gareth [Prosser, former Academy manager], especially over the last year, I’ve really got to see what he did and how his job was and respect all the things he had to do. It was a big shock for us all when he left – none of us saw that coming, so for me to be the one from ‘below’ to get the promotion to that role, shows succession plan is important.
“I think transitions in different people can slow down progression, as it might be someone with totally different ideas, so that’s always a risk, but this shows we’re really close as a football club, from the first-team to the Academy, from the sporting director and Jeff Shi at the top, that we all understand each other’s roles and what we’re trying to do. Succession shows that we all work close and that it works.”
On recent changes to Wolves Academy
“The whole club is different since 2014, and I think the Academy has just followed the rest of the football club. When I first came here, it was very different, we worked just as hard, but the parameters we were working in were a bit different.
“With Fosun’s involvement, we can look a bit different, and in the next two or three years we’ll change again, and we’ll look to progress, while also linking to the quality of the first-team players. We have to catch up, because the first-team’s gone very quickly to the top, and as an Academy we recognise that we’re going to have to catch up, but we’re going to work just as hard to bridge that gap.”
On his planned changes
“My philosophy is always about continually checking and challenging what you’re doing; whether that was as a coach or whatever else I’ve been doing. Nuno has had a big influence on the style of play within the football club and we’d be stupid not to look at that and examine it.
“At the moment, our under-23s and under-18s play in the exact same way, which I believe is really important, but you’re always looking at what’s out there. It’s also great looking inwards at some of the fantastic work which is being carried out here already. The production line is something that has already been successful and is something we can reflect on as well.”
On speaking with the board
“Jeff and the board have asked me what I would do moving forward. I was given a remit of what would I do in the first 90 days, and even in my coaching, everything I ever do – maybe because I’m a Yorkshire man – I’ve always believed in being honest. I don’t think you can learn from a lie, but if you’ve been honest with somebody you can support them.
“I’ve always been very much high challenge, high support with players. I’ll be honest and say ‘that isn’t good enough, you’re not going to make it if you do that, but let’s go out and do some work and look at some analysis’.
“I think that’s really important in developing players, developing Academies, developing staff, being really proud of the number of staff who’ve progressed from the Academy to bigger roles or to the first-team. I think if you develop and help people, then honesty is really important.”