This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Aston Villa’s new academy chief Mark Harrison has claimed it was the shared vision of the owners and management staff that helped convince him to make a switch across the Midlands.
Harrison had been in charge of West Brom’s academy for the past 13 years, helping them to become established as one of the best in the country.
This summer one of their latest hot prospects, Louie Barry, earned a move to La Liga giants Barcelona whilst Rekeem Harper, Sam Field and Jonathan Leko are all highly-thought of at the club earning minutes in recent seasons.
Villa themselves have a promising youth setup, but in recent times they have seen locally-born players thrive elsewhere after winning the NextGen tournament, which is why they have appointed Harrison as their new academy manager.
“I was really impressed with how they sold the club to me. I was enthused from the first time I met them.
“What really drew me here was the potential. You can see with the owners and the senior management the vision they have. I got a real good feel for how they want to build not only the club but the academy.
“I was part of a vision, certainly early on at West Brom when Dan Ashworth was technical director.”
Villa CEO Christian Purslow has made it clear in the past on the club’s desire to build a young an exciting team, stating that they need a ‘clear pathway right through the academy to the first-team with outstanding recruitment and development.’
The arrival of Harrison certainly is the first step in putting that plan into motion, although, it may be a while until we see it potentially bearing fruit.
The former Baggies academy man was there for 13 years, and it is only over a recent period of time that his work has started to see an effect with the aforementioned crop of youth players.
His work has clearly been appreciated by Purslow if he’s seeing him as one of the main men to lead his Villa vision.