Developing Winners

Scott Sellars looks forward to Under 21 season

Wolves Under-21s kick off their pre-season friendly preparations with a trip to face Old Wulfrunians at Castlecroft tomorrow (3pm).

And while individual development and bringing players through to the first team remains the priority of coach Scott Sellars and his staff, there is another element he wants to improve.

The development amongst the players themselves of a winning mentality.

League position over the last two seasons has fallen below Sellars’ expectations, but only amidst the bigger priority of the fact that so many players eligible for the Under-21 ranks have instead been playing in the first team.

But he is keen for whoever figures in the squad this season to win more games and develop that competitive edge.

“Ultimately the target for myself and the staff is to get players through to the first team,” says Sellars.

“That is my job, and what we judge ourselves on.

“From a team point of view, we need to be more competitive and do better in the league.

“To get players in the first team is great, but also we need to be winning more games at Under-21 level.

“Winning is not about me, it is about them.

“They are in a competitive business, and if they are not prepared to go out and try and win every game, or go that little bit extra rather than just passing and controlling the ball, then ultimately they won’t make it as footballers.

“It has to come from within themselves.

“I have been a player myself, and maybe you lose at scrabble, or cards, and I have seen tables go over and all sorts.

“Because that is what is inside you, what makes you successful, and I can’t give them that.

“From a coaches and staff point of view, we are looking at their development and they have got to want to win the game.

“There is nothing better as a footballer than coming off the pitch having won a game, going into the changing room and patting each other on the back and saying well done.

“And that’s whether you are Under 12, Under 15 or Under 21.

“I will always be looking at the bigger picture, and I want to win as well, but they need to want to do that too.”

The squad travels to the site of Wolves’ former Castlecroft training ground tomorrow having been back for 11 days, carrying out the same fitness tests of the first team and also beginning their season preparation.

“It’s always great to come back for pre-season and start working with and developing the players again,” adds Sellars.

“The lads did the same fitness testing that the first team have done and then the footballs came out and they were split into groups.

“We are looking forward to getting them fit, hopefully turning them into a team and getting into the pre-season games.

“With our age group it is more about individual development - the players are still developing physically, still developing technically and still developing as people as well.

“We will be looking at them and assessing what we need to do with them.

“There might be one or two 17-year-olds who will come in with us, or 19-year-olds who are maybe more developed – they are all at different times.

“Ultimately it is about getting the best out of each individual and getting them to fulfil their potential.

“There is always the opportunity to catch the gaffer’s eye.

“If he sees somebody that is standing out in terms of his effort and his attitude sometimes he might want to put him in and take a look at them.”

For the first time this season the emergency loan system will not be available to Wolves in between transfer windows.

That may affect which of the Under-21 group go out on loan, particularly in the case of requiring cover for Wolves’ first team group.

Sellars says those discussions are ongoing.

 “I think the loan system is going to mean a little bit more detail in planning,” he explains.

“We are still waiting for confirmation about what will happen with the Under-21 league.

“For each player we will look at them and see what it is that they need.

“I know the gaffer has spoken about Sylvain and Bright and maybe Connor Hunte going out on loan and that will be sorted out once the squad is decided and then filter back to me in terms of what we do.

“So it may be we have a decent sized squad or maybe I am saying to Jerry (Gill) that I need to take one or two of his players from the Under-18s.

“A lot of the time it is what the first team do that will dictate what we do.

 “The physical side is really important and I always think when they get to that stage of being a second year pro they are really ready.

“That might be with Kenny here, or might be out on loan.

“Some of the younger players made really good progress last year and it will be interesting to see how the likes of Connor Ronan develop, Bright, Sylvain, Connor Hunte, and to see how Niall comes back from his broken leg.

“And there are always one or two that surprise me and someone might come out of the pack.

“Aaron Collins did well in Germany and it will be interesting to see how he comes back, and he and Will (Randall) being with us for the start of a season.

“There are a lot of players for us to look at.”