By Nik Brumsack
Kwame Ampadu is delighted to be back at Arsenal as a youth coach and says that the opportunities for youngsters at the Club remind him of his own playing days.
Ampadu, who takes charge of the under-13s and under-14s, spent three years at Arsenal between 1988 and 1991 - when George Graham guided the first team to two titles.
Ampadu learnt his coaching trade at Exeter, where he was in charge of the under-18s, and believes his personal philosophy is one shared by Arsenal.
“I left here as a player more than 20 years ago, and to get the opportunity to come back to a club of this stature, and learn and get new and fresh ideas from different people and coaches is amazing,” he told Arsenal Player.
“This football club is all about flair, attacking flair at pace. Allowing boys to be brave and express themselves. My personal philosophy is still the same - to get the ball down and play, to get the ball played on the floor. Thankfully, that’s what it is here.”
And Ampadu believes the club’s structure gives encouragement to young players hoping to make the grade.
“I think the great thing is, even though this is such a massive club, an under-9 and an under-10 can look at players in the first team, like Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere and players that have come before them, going right back to in my time, players like David Rocastle and Michael Thomas,” he said.
“There’s always been a tradition here where there’s a pathway for young players to get into the first team.”
It hasn’t just been players that have come through the youth ranks at Arsenal in recent times. Both Steve Bould and Neil Banfield have been elevated from working with the youth teams to become key members of Arsène Wenger’s first-team staff.
Ampadu says that is encouraging for his own future.
“Steve Bould and Neil Banfield started out at under-12s and under-13s. The club has allowed and helped them to progress all the way through,” he said.
“That definitely gives people something to aim and look for in the future. The players see that as well so there’s a lot of continuity at the club.”
Watch part one of our interview with Kwame on Arsenal Player now.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 11 Sep 2012