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Academy manager looks to the future and improving Blues programme further

In a wide-ranging interview with BluesTV, the Academy chief speaks about a variety of issues concerning the Club's philosophy.

Speakman explains the reasons behind giving Ronan Hale and Odin Bailey professional contracts, reveals how the recent Elite Player Performance Plan Productivity rating - fifth in the whole country - is a source of pride and helps Blues and he outlines their 'bespoke' coaching approach.

The relationship between Gary Rowett and the Academy is excellent and 'refreshing', says Speakman.

And Speakman reveals why old boys Mat Sadler, Marcos Painter and Dele Adebola, as well as Deon Burton, have now been brought into the fold.

Blues have built an excellent reputation for what they deliver to all the age groups and the amount of Academy graduates in the First Team, most recently Jack Butland, Nathan Redmond, Demarai Gray and Viv Solomon-Otabor.

And there can be no slacking off, says Speakman.

"I find it a really nice pressure. The amount of people you go round and they say 'who's next?' and you think 'flippin' heck, we have got to keep producing and keep producing'.

"But I think with any organisation the danger is the complacency. We can sit and talk about some of the players who have come through this programme, which is really, really great, but we solidly turn our attention to 'right, who is coming through?'.

"So your Ronan Hales, Josh Martins, Odin Baileys and the groups at 15s, 14s and 13s, that's where our attention is, making sure we can secure the future and, hopefully, every single year we will have one or two trickling through to the manager's team."

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