Rovers U21s are in a better shape, says boss Kinder

Eric Kinder

Eric Kinder

First published in Sport This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by , Blackburn Rovers reporter

THE transformation in personnel of the Blackburn Rovers first team has been well documented.

But there have also been major changes to the way the club’s U21s side is set up.

Some of the changes have been undertaken on purpose to fit the philosophy shared by senior boss Gary Bowyer and Eric Kinder, the man he appointed to coach the U21s.

But others were made on the insistence of Kinder after he returned to his boyhood club last summer and rapidly discovered that some players, in his opinion, were not the right fit for Rovers.

“When I came back in last June there were 24 U21s players and I found out quickly quite a few of them were not up to the level required for a Championship reserve team and that some of them didn’t really want to be here,” said Kinder, whose young team finished bottom of the U21s Premier League table but in good heart after an improved end to the season.

“They were all contracted so it took a bit of time to get the squad down to a decent number and getting the younger ones in who could actually make us better.

“It improved from around February onwards. We still lost games around that time but they were finding their feet and you could see that there was a different atmosphere.

“The lads who were coming in from the academy and the desire of the younger ones who started the season started to come through, as before some of them were being brought down by some of the older ones who didn’t really want to be here.

“It was hard for us as staff and for the players but around February when the vast majority of the squad were academy boys and the younger lads who wanted to play, we started to get better performances and then right at the end of the season we started to get the results too.”

The U21s rounded off a testing and transitional campaign with a 1-0 win at a West Ham United side featuring England international Joe Cole, who was impressed by the man-marking job then 16-year-old Hyuga Tanner did on him.

With Jack O’Connell, Anthony O’Connor, Ryan Edwards, John O’Sullivan and Kellen Daly all out on loan and Anton Forrester injured, the average age of the Rovers’ starting line-up against the Hammers, excluding trialists Louis Laing and Jordan Laidler, was just 17.

And that is just the way Bowyer and Kinder want it.

“Gary Bowyer has and always had a massive influence over me,” said Kinder, whose coaching career began at Preston North End alongside former Manchester United and Everton manager David Moyes before he was invited to take over the Rovers U16s side in 1999 by the club’s then academy boss Bobby Downes.

“I was lucky enough to work with him here when I was U16s coach and he was U18s coach and we both spent many hours talking about the way that we wanted to play and it’s carried on now.

“He wants his 19-year-olds out on loan and we want the younger ones coming up from the academy playing U21s football because if they can handle that at that age, they will every chance of progressing.

“If they’re only playing U21s football when they’re 20 and they haven’t been tested in the League then that probably tells you they’re not going to be good enough for the level we want them to get to.”

Kinder, who spent seven successful years heading up Carlisle United’s academy before returning to Rovers, has nothing but praise for the way Bowyer has adapted to becoming a senior team manager.

“When I first walked back in it was a completely different club to the one I had left in 2006 to go to Carlisle,” said Kinder, who grew up supporting Rovers.

“But as we sit here now 11 months down the line it’s a completely different club to the one I came back into in June.

“Gary deserves credit for that. He’s managed to deal with everything that’s gone on behind the scenes.

“I don’t how many players he’s got out in total – and that doesn’t just include his first-team squad but my squad as well.

“And to do that and still take us to the edge of the play-offs was an amazing effort. He deserves every bit of credit that comes his way.”

Kinder is confident Rovers, with three or four additions and further departures of players not in Bowyer’s plans, can push for promotion next season.

And he is also hopeful his team will pick up from where they left off.

Kinder said: “Our squad will be young but it will be vibrant and it will be a group of lads who want to make a living playing professional football.

“If I could have 16 Blackburn-born lads playing for the U21s I’d take it tomorrow’s but that’s not going to happen so as long as they come in – whatever age – and go out there and try and make themselves as best they can, that’s all I can ask.”

Comments (13)

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1:44pm Sat 24 May 14

noddy57 says...

The current set up with the youngsters can only bode well for the future of the club and this coach is well versed in the training sessions to bring on the promising youngsters and separate the chaff from the corn.
The current set up with the youngsters can only bode well for the future of the club and this coach is well versed in the training sessions to bring on the promising youngsters and separate the chaff from the corn. noddy57
  • Score: 12

1:58pm Sat 24 May 14

owd nick says...

I don't see anything of the younger players but it looks like the same negative attitude that was permeating through the first team squad had found it's way down to these kids.

The key phrase in the article is;

“When I came back in last June there were 24 U21s players and I found out quickly quite a few of them were not up to the level required for a Championship reserve team and that some of them didn’t really want to be here,”

That must have been pretty scary, we wondered why some so called "great potential" players were moved on, perhaps we now know why.

Lets hope this is the end of the Kean and Shebby debacle at this level at least, we will probably be paying for their ineptitude with the first team squad for a couple of years yet.
I don't see anything of the younger players but it looks like the same negative attitude that was permeating through the first team squad had found it's way down to these kids. The key phrase in the article is; “When I came back in last June there were 24 U21s players and I found out quickly quite a few of them were not up to the level required for a Championship reserve team and that some of them didn’t really want to be here,” That must have been pretty scary, we wondered why some so called "great potential" players were moved on, perhaps we now know why. Lets hope this is the end of the Kean and Shebby debacle at this level at least, we will probably be paying for their ineptitude with the first team squad for a couple of years yet. owd nick
  • Score: 8

6:24pm Sat 24 May 14

Super_Clarets says...

Am I missing something here?

Your under 21's were never out of the news last season given some of the spankings they took.

I hope there has been some improvements though as you'll be needing the kids when your transfer embargo arrives in December.
Am I missing something here? Your under 21's were never out of the news last season given some of the spankings they took. I hope there has been some improvements though as you'll be needing the kids when your transfer embargo arrives in December. Super_Clarets
  • Score: -5

7:29pm Sat 24 May 14

keanoutofrovers says...

Super_Clarets wrote:
Am I missing something here?

Your under 21's were never out of the news last season given some of the spankings they took.

I hope there has been some improvements though as you'll be needing the kids when your transfer embargo arrives in December.
Coming from a club with no B team at all. Oops.
[quote][p][bold]Super_Clarets[/bold] wrote: Am I missing something here? Your under 21's were never out of the news last season given some of the spankings they took. I hope there has been some improvements though as you'll be needing the kids when your transfer embargo arrives in December.[/p][/quote]Coming from a club with no B team at all. Oops. keanoutofrovers
  • Score: 9

8:53pm Sat 24 May 14

keanoutofrovers says...

Super_Clarets wrote:
Am I missing something here?

Your under 21's were never out of the news last season given some of the spankings they took.

I hope there has been some improvements though as you'll be needing the kids when your transfer embargo arrives in December.
Ahhh the transfer embargo in January. That will be as bad as the administration you predicted would happen this season. Nice one Mystic Meg.
[quote][p][bold]Super_Clarets[/bold] wrote: Am I missing something here? Your under 21's were never out of the news last season given some of the spankings they took. I hope there has been some improvements though as you'll be needing the kids when your transfer embargo arrives in December.[/p][/quote]Ahhh the transfer embargo in January. That will be as bad as the administration you predicted would happen this season. Nice one Mystic Meg. keanoutofrovers
  • Score: 6

11:03pm Sat 24 May 14

beewashere says...

I watched rovers under 21 at Exeter.They were shocking and got played off the park. Start again with the under 21 coaching set up please.
I watched rovers under 21 at Exeter.They were shocking and got played off the park. Start again with the under 21 coaching set up please. beewashere
  • Score: 1

12:17am Sun 25 May 14

jimluftas says...

beewashere wrote:
I watched rovers under 21 at Exeter.They were shocking and got played off the park. Start again with the under 21 coaching set up please.
Did you even read the article?!
[quote][p][bold]beewashere[/bold] wrote: I watched rovers under 21 at Exeter.They were shocking and got played off the park. Start again with the under 21 coaching set up please.[/p][/quote]Did you even read the article?! jimluftas
  • Score: 2

12:18am Sun 25 May 14

jimluftas says...

Super_Clarets wrote:
Am I missing something here?

Your under 21's were never out of the news last season given some of the spankings they took.

I hope there has been some improvements though as you'll be needing the kids when your transfer embargo arrives in December.
Yes you are, it's called a chromosome.
[quote][p][bold]Super_Clarets[/bold] wrote: Am I missing something here? Your under 21's were never out of the news last season given some of the spankings they took. I hope there has been some improvements though as you'll be needing the kids when your transfer embargo arrives in December.[/p][/quote]Yes you are, it's called a chromosome. jimluftas
  • Score: 3

2:09pm Sun 25 May 14

Ronaldpetercooper says...

owd nick wrote:
I don't see anything of the younger players but it looks like the same negative attitude that was permeating through the first team squad had found it's way down to these kids.

The key phrase in the article is;

“When I came back in last June there were 24 U21s players and I found out quickly quite a few of them were not up to the level required for a Championship reserve team and that some of them didn’t really want to be here,”

That must have been pretty scary, we wondered why some so called "great potential" players were moved on, perhaps we now know why.

Lets hope this is the end of the Kean and Shebby debacle at this level at least, we will probably be paying for their ineptitude with the first team squad for a couple of years yet.
Hi Owd Nick the point I made about young talent more or less agrees with what you say. If you keep a basket of vegetables in one spot too long without cooking they will rot. Through no fault of GB this is what has happened to most of the kids now released. They need encouragement and nurturing and sadly were left in the reserve set up and consequently rotted. I hope to watch Ryan Evans playing in the Fleetwood side tomorrow in the play off. He is with a manager who I think will do well.
[quote][p][bold]owd nick[/bold] wrote: I don't see anything of the younger players but it looks like the same negative attitude that was permeating through the first team squad had found it's way down to these kids. The key phrase in the article is; “When I came back in last June there were 24 U21s players and I found out quickly quite a few of them were not up to the level required for a Championship reserve team and that some of them didn’t really want to be here,” That must have been pretty scary, we wondered why some so called "great potential" players were moved on, perhaps we now know why. Lets hope this is the end of the Kean and Shebby debacle at this level at least, we will probably be paying for their ineptitude with the first team squad for a couple of years yet.[/p][/quote]Hi Owd Nick the point I made about young talent more or less agrees with what you say. If you keep a basket of vegetables in one spot too long without cooking they will rot. Through no fault of GB this is what has happened to most of the kids now released. They need encouragement and nurturing and sadly were left in the reserve set up and consequently rotted. I hope to watch Ryan Evans playing in the Fleetwood side tomorrow in the play off. He is with a manager who I think will do well. Ronaldpetercooper
  • Score: 0

8:20pm Sun 25 May 14

bb observer says...

Nothing whatsoever to do with the club having 4 managers in such a short space of time? or half a dozen or so Portuguese players on big contracts....some of those young lads never stood a chance regardless of how hard they were prepared to work. Extremely insulting to those lads who achieved so much.... League winners, FA Youth Cup finalists.
Nothing whatsoever to do with the club having 4 managers in such a short space of time? or half a dozen or so Portuguese players on big contracts....some of those young lads never stood a chance regardless of how hard they were prepared to work. Extremely insulting to those lads who achieved so much.... League winners, FA Youth Cup finalists. bb observer
  • Score: 1

6:25am Mon 26 May 14

forever blue and white says...

Sounds like the kitchen fitter has his excuses in already for next season when they get hammered every week. I accept to a point that at any under age level it should not be about winning as really the bottom line of an Academy is to find players that will progress to the first team. However, getting beat every week is far from ideal and surely a winning mentality would help going in to a first team.
Sounds like the kitchen fitter has his excuses in already for next season when they get hammered every week. I accept to a point that at any under age level it should not be about winning as really the bottom line of an Academy is to find players that will progress to the first team. However, getting beat every week is far from ideal and surely a winning mentality would help going in to a first team. forever blue and white
  • Score: 1

9:32am Mon 26 May 14

ikwalsh6677 says...

I think this is a great article as it highlights the continued rebuilding and re-emergence of the club. It looks like Bowyer will be given the opportunity to bring in just a few quality players and have a real go next year, with an academy and youth set up that will eventually feed the first team. I've still not had any communication about season tickets, anybody else in the same boat as I'm really looking forward to next year...already!
I think this is a great article as it highlights the continued rebuilding and re-emergence of the club. It looks like Bowyer will be given the opportunity to bring in just a few quality players and have a real go next year, with an academy and youth set up that will eventually feed the first team. I've still not had any communication about season tickets, anybody else in the same boat as I'm really looking forward to next year...already! ikwalsh6677
  • Score: 1

9:50am Mon 26 May 14

jimluftas says...

Ronaldpetercooper wrote:
owd nick wrote:
I don't see anything of the younger players but it looks like the same negative attitude that was permeating through the first team squad had found it's way down to these kids.

The key phrase in the article is;

“When I came back in last June there were 24 U21s players and I found out quickly quite a few of them were not up to the level required for a Championship reserve team and that some of them didn’t really want to be here,”

That must have been pretty scary, we wondered why some so called "great potential" players were moved on, perhaps we now know why.

Lets hope this is the end of the Kean and Shebby debacle at this level at least, we will probably be paying for their ineptitude with the first team squad for a couple of years yet.
Hi Owd Nick the point I made about young talent more or less agrees with what you say. If you keep a basket of vegetables in one spot too long without cooking they will rot. Through no fault of GB this is what has happened to most of the kids now released. They need encouragement and nurturing and sadly were left in the reserve set up and consequently rotted. I hope to watch Ryan Evans playing in the Fleetwood side tomorrow in the play off. He is with a manager who I think will do well.
Morris, Edwards, fleetwood, ryan, morecambe, josh.
[quote][p][bold]Ronaldpetercooper[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]owd nick[/bold] wrote: I don't see anything of the younger players but it looks like the same negative attitude that was permeating through the first team squad had found it's way down to these kids. The key phrase in the article is; “When I came back in last June there were 24 U21s players and I found out quickly quite a few of them were not up to the level required for a Championship reserve team and that some of them didn’t really want to be here,” That must have been pretty scary, we wondered why some so called "great potential" players were moved on, perhaps we now know why. Lets hope this is the end of the Kean and Shebby debacle at this level at least, we will probably be paying for their ineptitude with the first team squad for a couple of years yet.[/p][/quote]Hi Owd Nick the point I made about young talent more or less agrees with what you say. If you keep a basket of vegetables in one spot too long without cooking they will rot. Through no fault of GB this is what has happened to most of the kids now released. They need encouragement and nurturing and sadly were left in the reserve set up and consequently rotted. I hope to watch Ryan Evans playing in the Fleetwood side tomorrow in the play off. He is with a manager who I think will do well.[/p][/quote]Morris, Edwards, fleetwood, ryan, morecambe, josh. jimluftas
  • Score: 0

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