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Villas-Boas: “Aspire Academy has a clear vision”

19 Jan 2015, General

Doha, 19 January 2015. One of the football clubs that chose Aspire Academy for their winter training camp is the Russian club Zenit Saint Petersburg. In the following interview coachAndré Villas-Boas talks about the qualities a young player needs to succeed in adult football, the goals with his club and what he thinks about the philosophy of Aspire Academy. You have been here before and know about the philosophy of Aspire Academy in terms of developing young players.

What do you think about it? Aspire Academy has been developing young players for a few years and we have seen the recent successes of the Qatari U-19 national team. These results have been very important, because it shows that a clear vision has been defined and that people at Aspire are following this vision. Hopefully this can be transferred to 2022 when the World Cup comes here. I think that all the steps so far have been the right ones, there has been a consistent development and I think Aspire Academy sets a really good example for others.

What’s the most important thing when it comes to working with young players? With young players you have to continuously focus on the technical development, because the technique is the foundation of the qualities that are demanded in today’s football. That is very important, because the tactical side can be adapted later. The step from youth to adult football is often the hardest one.

What qualities does a young player need to succeed at the adult level? As a young player you might think that playing is more important than being in an environment in between the best players where your chances to play are limited. But I disagree a little with this conception, because a young player has to be able to survive and succeed in the most difficult environment and if they do so they are able to jump the grades and make it as a first team player. I think in order to succeed a young player needs resilience and persistence, because he might not immediately get the chance to play. He also has to believe in his skillsand have confidence. Coming from the youth team into the senior team is the hardest step and you have to work very hard to have a successful transition.

So you would advise young players to stay at a top club rather than to join a club that might not have this strong competition within the team? They can play one or two years for another club on loan, but when they come back they still need to have resilience, persistence and the ability to prove that they can make it among the best. Finally, what are the next goals that you want to achieve with your club Zenit Saint Petersburg At the moment we are focused on winning the league, where we are in a good positionto do so because there are only 13 games left to play and we have a lead of seven points.

The first games after you come back from a break are very important and winning them can be a stepping stone for a successful rest of the season.

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