This week sees the fantastic work of academies across the country celebrated as part of the #RaisedInTheEFL campaign.
As part of the campaign we sat down with Charlton Athletic Academy Manager Steve Avory to look at the development of some of the stars to come through at the club’s Sparrows Lane training ground.
This series begins with Steve talking about one-club man Chris Solly, who has spent 10 years in the first team after coming through the Addicks youth system.
“Chris has been Mr Dependable, Mr Reliable, like he is now for our first team, all the way through the academy. I think what you need to do as a coach sometimes is, when you’re looking at right backs and left backs, players who are not in the most flamboyant positions, you need to just recognise what good qualities they’ve got.
“He was Mr Consistency from day one, week in, week out within academy football. You appreciate it very quickly and what a good defender he was. He wanted to learn more, he had a good positive attitude to learning as well as being a winner.
“Did I think at 12/13 years of age he’d play in our first team? Probably not because he was a small player so we were worried about that side of him. He wasn’t outstandingly quick so we questioned that sometimes, in terms of his position. But he was quick enough and intelligent enough to learn how to defend effectively against even the quickest and trickiest attacking players.
“We’re just so delighted for him and the journey he’s gone through at this club and what a good, outstanding role model he’s been at this club for our young players. We refer to Chris Solly, even with the clips we show to the players about defending. Likewise, with some of the younger players in the first team and how they managed to establish themselves in the first team. People like, for example, George Lapslie, Anfernee Djiksteel.”
Article by Nicks Emms