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Kelly on helping prepare young players for first team football

3 October 2019

Northampton Town Development Coach David 'Ned' Kelly has enjoyed his first few months at the club.

Kelly was appointed as the club's first ever Development Coach in the summer, his brief to oversee the transition from youth team player to professional player as the club strengthened its coaching infrastructure. We caught up with him to see how he was getting on.

"I have really enjoyed the first few months," he said.

"All of the staff have made me very welcome and I appreciate that. It is a really good club to work at."

We asked him to explain his role in detail, and how he has settled in.

"My role is to help the young players link from the academy to the first team," he explained.

"Eight boys got professional contracts last season and my responsibility is to manage their progress, see how they are and how they work. Young players leave the youth team and get thrown in to a first team environment very quickly, and I have to monitor that and to help smooth what can be a very difficult progression. Some players adapt overnight, some find it more difficult. They are all welcomed in by the first team players, but the standard and the pace is very different to what they have come from and that can be a culture shock.

"I have to understand the individuals, both as footballers and as people. Over the summer, the Gaffer asked the boys to write an assessment on themselves, what they are good at and what they can do as individuals to further their own career. That is an ongoing process. There are a lot of conversations between the Gaffer and myself and the individual player to see how they can keep progressing.

"Jay Williams is out on loan, as is Jack Newell. It is about them learning to play in aggressive, physical football, in front of a crowd, where results matter, where livelihoods are at stake, week in and week out. Jack has played a number of games at Redditch and Jay is playing at Kettering, I have watched Jack and we will go and see Jay."

The full interview with Ned will be available in a forthcoming match programme.

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