Interview with new Terras u23's boss 'Franklyn Clarke'

Franklyn, welcome to the Terras’ under-23s. How excited are you to get started?

I’m really looking forward to getting started. When I got the call and heard about how the club operate, and how professional that they are, it’s something that I felt Matt Harvey and I could add to.

For us, it’s about the development of the players and helping them bridge that gap between under-23s football and the National League South. It’s a long process that takes time, but that’s what development is all about.

You mentioned your assistant, Matt Harvey, who you have worked with before from your time at Portland. To have someone like Matt close to you, how much will your experience as a pair prove important going forward?

We work together, almost every day, on a weekly basis for my coaching company, Mini Ballers, so we already have a fantastic working relationship as it is, and, as soon as I found out I would be the head coach of Weymouth under-23s, I knew I wanted Matt by my side.

He’s a fantastic lad with a personal training background, so he can bring the aspect of fitness to the group and guide the players in that way. He’ll be a great asset to the club.

Besides winning matches, what, in your view, is the most important thing in terms of youth development?

First and foremost, it’s about creating a positive environment. After that, it’s about making sure we’re in a competitive environment that has standards and drives the lads to reach the next level. But, it’s also about being patient. A lot of the players will be at different stages right now, and will improve at different rates.

For me and Matt, our task will be getting them to the next stage of their development. We want to replicate the environment within the first team in our squad, so it’s a smooth transition for the players that are able to make the next step.

On this subject, your players will join the first team for pre-season training next month. What sort of things will you hope the players learn during this time?

By being around players who play at National-League-South level, they will be able to see their quality, the intensity they work at, how they operate and conduct themselves.

When you’re in that environment with these type of players, you take a lot in anyway. You will naturally push yourself to do as well in that environment as you can. It will be a really positive experience for them. Hopefully they can bring what they learnt into the upcoming season.

You said after your time at Portland that you gave “blood, sweat and tears,” whilst at that job. To what extent will this mentality be drilled into our young players here?

Portland was my first proper job in management, so that was an experience in itself for me, but I won’t be trying to do that to the players here. The footballing environment creates that mentality by itself; I won’t need to necessarily drill that into my players.

It’s more about being patient with them and understanding where they are in terms of their development. Their progress will take time; it won’t be super fast. You need to understand the players you’re working with. Our main focus here is player development. This is something myself and Matt enjoy, and we are looking forward to getting on the grass with the players next week for our first session.

Though the players already seem to be heading into the right direction. Coming into a side that recently reached the Hampshire Combination under-23s Cup Final, it must be a positive feeling to be working with players that have such a bright future ahead of them.

Credit has to go to Craig and his team for laying the foundations last season, and Matt and I will look to build on that, and find ways we can help the lads get even better.

Have you and Matt had the opportunity to get to know the players? What sort of conversations have been had?

We spoke to each individual player last week. We got to know them a little bit, and where they think they’re at right now, alongside explaining to them what what pre-season will look like, and what they can look forward to.

Finally, any message to the fans ahead of the upcoming campaign? What can they look forward to?

Enjoy seeing the young players come through. Come and support us if you have the opportunity to do so, and get behind the young lads who are trying to progress!

Interview by
Jack Webb


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