Elliott Dickman

Dickman: Hard work starts now

by Ashley Houghton

Academy head of coaching's message for new intake.

Sunderland’s head of coaching, Elliott Dickman, has told the new intake of budding stars that hard work is the key if they are to continue to make progress at the Academy of Light.

Eight successful players were confirmed last week, including six from the north east. All will start full-time at the Academy in July.

Academy manager Ged McNamee and his staff have had to make difficult decisions of late as to which players will be offered scholarships with the club.

It’s always a tough time for the under-16 boys; we have a squad of lads who we have to make decisions on

- Elliott Dickman

Dickman said: “It’s always a tough time for the under-16 boys; we have a squad of lads who we have to make decisions on.

“Some of the lads have had some really, really good news.

“We watch them grow up from being small children, right the way through to when they become young men really and it’s great to see.

“Obviously some other lads have, unfortunately, had some bad news and we have to manage them as well as we manage the lads who’ve had good news.”

Dickman says although this is an incredibly exciting time for the new intake and their families, it’s also vital they keep their feet on the ground and work hard during their time with the club.

“We do try to keep their feet on the ground; it’s not always easy as everybody is different,” he explained.

“I think the big thing is that they’ll have to learn and understand it does get a little bit harder; the day-to-day routine is quite intense, and dealing with that is quite difficult.

“That’s what we’re here for, we’re here to support the football side and we’ve got a lot of staff who help out with the other side of things too.

“They’ve done a lot of hard work to get to where you are now but it’s even harder to go from an under-16 player to hopefully getting another contract in Kevin Ball’s squad when they get to 18.

“It’ll be a good challenge for them and one I’m looking forward to, especially seeing how these boys progress.”