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SWINDON TOWN: Bodin delighted with MacDonald's approach to youth
YOUTH team boss Paul Bodin has been hugely impressed by the way new manager Kevin MacDonald has gone about working with the club’s young players during his first few days at the County Ground.
The 52-year-old has a reputation for producing homegrown players following his 17 years working with youngsters at Aston Villa, and has already stated his desire to do the same in Wiltshire.
MacDonald and assistant Mark Cooper watched the Swindon youth team train on their first day on Friday, and on Tuesday invited the second-year scholars to join in with the first team before traveling to St George’s Park in Burton to watch the youth team’s clash against an RAF Combined Services side.
While accepting MacDonald needs to spend the majority of his time focusing on the first team’s League One promotion challenge, Bodin is grateful for any time the new boss is able to give his young players.
“Obviously the main priority is to carry on all the good work in the first team and stay in the high position in the league, and we really are in a fantastic position and don’t want to throw it away,” he said.
“But this is the time of year the second years need to start knowing what they’re doing and the manager needs to have a good look at them, and it has been tremendous because on the first day they were here they came across and watched us train for 20 minutes.
“They have shown the intent to look at young players, they are limited in their squad at the moment, so potentially any who have caught the eye could be in the squad for the weekend.
“It’s reassuring for everyone involved in the youth side that the new manager has shown a tremendous interest within a week, which is very encouraging.
“He is going to come up and watch our game against Plymouth on Saturday morning, which is great for the lads and is a breath of fresh air.”
Decisions have to be made regarding the futures of Town’s second year scholars, including Aaron Oakley and Louis Thompson, by the end of April, and Bodin has challenged his young players to impress both in their football and academic requirements in the next couple of months.
“It is pretty much the end of April, but it’s a little open-ended because they have to complete their framework at college, and that’s equally as important as their football,” he said. “We have had a 100 per cent completion in the last six years which I am quite proud of, because players can drop out - whether it’s the academic or the coaching they haven’t completed.
“They are all on target to complete, although one or two have a bit more to do and one or two others have gone back to college and done extra.
“It’s an important time for academics, but on the football front it’s also an important time to plant a seed in the manager’s thoughts.”