Why 'exceptional person' Neil Thompson was chosen as Sheffield Wednesday's Lee Bullen replacement

Sheffield Wednesday have appointed a new under-23 manager after Lee Bullen’s departure to Scottish Championship side Ayr United.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 10:30 am
Updated Thursday, 13th January 2022, 10:52 am

Neil Thompson has been handed the role having always been the obvious candidate.

Thompson had been dividing his time between the academy and the Owls first team this season having acted as Darren Moore’s predecessor in a long caretaker spell early last year.

A former Barnet manager, the 58-year-old has been at Wednesday for over a decade. He’s held similar roles before and spoke of the importance of his new position.

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Sheffield Wednesday have appointed Neil Thompson as their new under-23s boss after the departure of Lee Bullen.

Speaking to swfc.co.uk, Thompson said: “The link between the 23s and the first team is vital and I know the role very well. Some of the lads train with and play for the first team and it’s about managing that transition. I know the coaches, the players, the staff so the transition will be a smooth one.

“It takes on various guises with the main focus building the platform from the 23s to becoming a first team professional, hopefully with Sheffield Wednesday. It’s about instilling the right mentality because it’s far from easy for a young player, it’s a big jump and we have to teach the right values that fit in with the ethos of the club.

Football always provides different challenges, this is one of those incidences, I enjoy the role and I’m looking forward to taking the bull by the horns.”

The appointment may leave things a pair of hands light on the senior side but Moore is well stocked, with Simon Ireland and Jamie Smith working alongside goalkeeping coach Adriano Basso. It remains to be seen whether Wednesday will seek to bring in a new coach at senior level.

Speaking on the under-23s appointment, Moore added: “Thommo knows the academy inside out and will give us that continuity which is really important.

“He will have that vital connection between the academy and the first team, Steven Haslam is pleased, Thommo is pleased and I am too. He’s an exceptional coach and person and I wish him all the very best in this key position at the club.”

Andy Holdsworth will continue as the club’s under-18 boss, with a handful of highly-rated prospects coming through the ranks at Middlewood Road.