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Page last updated at 14:44 GMT, Sunday, 8 March 2009

Holland delighted with Stoke role

Steve Holland
Steve Holland turned down a similar role at Chelsea to move to Stoke City

Stoke City's new academy director Steve Holland is excited by the challenge that awaits him at his new club.

The former Crewe manager was appointed in his new role on Friday.

"I've been very impressed with their vision for upgrading the academy, which is being aided by significant financial input," Holland told BBC Radio Stoke.

"It's about developing players of the quality that Tony Pulis would want to put in his team. It will take time, but I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Walsall's Mick Halsall rejected the chance to take the job at the Britannia Stadium before Holland's appointment.

Halsall claimed that Premier League clubs do not promote enough youth players into their first team, a view that Holland disagrees with.

"It varies from club to club," said Holland. "I've spent some of my time out of the game watching other academies and seeing how they work.

"In respect of Stoke City, if someone like Dean Ashton was in the youth team, I'm sure Tony Pulis would be sniffing around and wanting him in the first team."

You look at the players Crewe have produced over the years - David Platt, Rob Jones, Dean Ashton, Nicky Maynard - the thing that strings them all together is that they are proper professionals.

Steve Holland
Holland is back in football after being relieved of his duties at Crewe in November 2008.

He spent 16 months in charge at the Alexandra Stadium, having replaced Dario Gradi as the man in charge, but left with the club struggling at the foot of League One.

Holland has admitted it was difficult for him to leave Crewe.

"It's a terrific club and it's been very difficult. That's life as a manager. Crewe Alexandra have had to move on, and I have too," he said.

He will be more favourably remembered by Crewe fans for his work with the club's academy, which has developed several England internationals in the past two decades.

The club had high hopes for two more players to come from that academy - Gary Roberts and Michael O'Connor - but both have left the club because of disciplinary matters.

Roberts joined fellow League One side Yeovil, while Northern Ireland international O'Connor has move to Lincoln City on loan.

Holland added: "You need more than ability to be a good player - simple as that.

"You look at the players Crewe have produced over the years - David Platt, Rob Jones, Dean Ashton, Nicky Maynard - the thing that strings them all together is that they are proper professionals.

"It's amazing how far you can go with that mentality, and in the case of those two players, maybe they don't have that."



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see also
Halsall picks Walsall over Stoke
04 Feb 09 |  Walsall


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