Dave Jones, the Sheffield Wednesday manager, has revealed to The Star he wants the Championship club to become the “top dogs in the city” at bringing through home-grown players.
Jones accepts the Owls have been outperformed by neighbours Sheffield United in developing and nurturing youngsters in recent years.
Phil Jagielka, Matthew Lowton, Kyle Walker and Kyle Naughton all regularly play in the top flight, having begun their careers at Bramall Lane.
It was two years ago United reached the FA Youth Cup Final. Harry Maguire and George Long, two members of that squad, have since established themselves as regular first-team players and earned international recognition.
United’s success has not gone unnoticed across the city. However, Jones is convinced Wednesday’s youth set-up, headed by academy manager Dean Ramsdale, has turned the corner.
He said: “We have some good kids coming through.
“When we arrived, the academy was not run right. We brought Dean (Ramsdale) in and have worked so hard over the last 12 months to make it better.
“Other clubs are now coming to look at our players.
“We want to be the top dogs in the city at bringing the kids through. Sheffield United have had that mantle for a while and we want to take that away from them and that’s what we are working hard to do.”
Neil Thompson and Owls legend David Hirst recently joined the club’s academy.