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Captain Planet

Jonker's Dutch Youth Set-up

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Arsenal’s new Academy director, Andries Jonker, says the club have encouraged him to hire fellow Dutchmen as he looks stamp his authority on the Gunners youth system.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach took over from Liam Brady in July and has overseen a raft of personnel changes at Hale End and London Colney including the signing of compatriots Frans de Kat and Jan van Loon who’ll oversee the under-18s and under-16s respectively.
Speaking to Arsenal Player for the first team since joining the club, Jonker revealed why he made his appointments: “One of the pieces of advice I got from people at Arsenal was to bring in a Dutchman because then there is always a certain influence of myself on the facility.
“I looked for people I can trust, reliable people, people with experience in educating other people, people who have experience in leading an academy. I brought Jan van Loon, who is coach of the under-16s and leading coach of Hale End.
“On the other hand there is London Colney, with under-18s and under-21s, and i had the same advice from Arsenal: bring in a Dutchman. So I brought in Frans de Kat who has the same qualifications as Jan. So I feel very comfortable – I know them both from back in 1990 when I started in the Dutch federation and they also started. So I know them for quite a long time, we have experienced a lot together and we worked together at Willem II in Holland. I think they are very able to do the things I ask. 
“With the English guys I asked Liam [brady], ‘What is your advice?’ and he said, ‘They are good – keep them.’ They are all there and I am trying to let them work together with the Dutch guys and so far the start was fine.” 
Inspired by the 18-year tenure of Liam Brady, Jonker also stressed that he has a long-term vision that requires all parties to be patient.
“I give you an example, Liam Brady. [He was] 18 years at Arsenal and he had the patience to stay in the job and Arsenal also had the patience to leave him in his job. For sure there have been years when no players were presented to the first team, and years when it has been successful. That is the thing with youth, you have to be patient.
“The manager, the staff and in fact the players have to wait for a chance and you need to have confidence in the choice the manager makes, because the manager of the first team has to make sure the team wins.
“If he thinks the chance is bigger without the youth players, he shouldn’t bring them [in] but if he thinks the chance is bigger with the youth team players, then please [take them]. I think having an academy demands patience from everyone involved and conviction about the quality of the work you deliver.”
The full interview is worth a watch/read (if nothing else because Jonker comes across like the most laid back man in the world) – you can catch it here.
Arseblog News knows of a certain Dutchman currently teaching kids at the Ajax Academy how to score goals. We wonder how long it’ll be before he’s tempted back to North London to pursue a similar role. Maybe a statue will turn his head.


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