New Peterborough United under 18 manager Matthew Etherington insists young footballers need to ‘obsess’ about turning professional.
And Etherington knows what it takes. He was given his Football League debut by the current Posh director of football Barry Fry at the age of 15 before turning professional at London Road and embarking on a strong career that included spells at Spurs, West Ham and Stoke as well as England caps at every level from under 16 to under 21.
After starting his playing career at Posh, Etherington is thrilled to be starting his coaching career at the same place.
“It is a huge opportunity for me and I can’t wait to get started,” Etherington stated. “I am really hungry and excited to do well and give something back to the club that handed me my chance in the game at the age of 15.
“I know what it takes to get to the top and I will use that experience to help the younger players at this football club and give them the best possible chance of making it.
“It is tough to make it in professional football. You need talent first and foremost, but you also need to apply yourself. We have to develop our young players as people as well as players, but they need to obsess about becoming a professional footballer. Everyone wants to make so you need a bit of luck on the way.
“It’s crazy how things work out. I started my playing career here and now I’m starting my coaching career at the same place.”
Etherington will work closely with the first-team management team of Steve Evans and Paul Raynor. Raynor will manage an under 23 team next season with Etherington as his assistant.
“I like Steve’s ideas for the club,” Etherington added. “There will be exciting times ahead.
“It’s important the young players know there is a pathway to the first team as long as they perform and as long as they apply themselves.
The Posh under 23 team will play friendlies, some of them at the ABAX Stadium when spectators will be allowed to attend, involving first-team squad members as well as youth team players.
Confirmation of fixtures and admission details will be released ahead of the new campaign.