Jon De Souza talks to Bees Player after he resumes position as Brentford Youth Team Manager
Jon De Souza said he wanted to get the best of the Brentford’s Under-18 players after resuming his role as Youth Team Manager.
Jon joined Brentford in 2011 as Youth Team boss, looking after the Club’s scholars aged 16 to 18.
He has spent the past two years as Development Squad Manager but has now stepped back in to his role with the Under-18s after the departure of Jeremy Steele, former Youth Team Manager.
Jon’s role with the Development Squad has been taken by former Republic of Ireland international Lee Carsley, who has worked with Brentford Assistant Manager David Weir in the past.
Jon, speaking to Bees Player this week, said he would work with Anthony Hayes, Under-17 Head Coach, and was moving back to a role he enjoyed.
“There was a restructure, with Jeremy leaving, and the Club spoke to me about their ideas,” he explained.
“They wanted to bring Lee in as Under-21 Manager and I am fully on board with that.
“He has a wealth of experience as a player and has a good relationship with David Weir and the manager [Mark Warburton].
“I return back to the role I did three years ago.
“I enjoyed doing it then and hopefully I can get the best out of the players at that age group.
“My main role is to work with the Under-18s but I will help and support Lee with the Under-21s during the week and on match days.
“We want to see the Under-18s and Under-21s as one group and on a match day Lee will lead the Under-21s and I will lead the Under-18s.
“Anthony will help me out and we will both help Lee out.”
Jon said he knew the Under-18 players as he had taken training sessions with them on some days and also used them in Development Squad matches.
Brentford’s Youth Team are currently top of the Under-18 Professional Development League Two South but Jon said there was still room for improvement.
“On specific days we have combined the groups so I know the boys in the Under-18s well,” said Jon.
“I have seen a few games and they have done well.
“There is a bit of pressure on me because I take over a team that is top of the league.
“But as I have always said the aim is to get performances and results.
“Results have been very good but performances could be better.
“My aim is to continue the results but improve the performances.”
Jon said whatever age group he worked with the task was to produce First Team players.
“We all have the same aim,” he said.
“My aim is the same as it was with the Under-21s, to produce players for the First Team.
“We have to produce professionals that can step up in to the Under-21 environment and go from there.
“My role doesn’t really change; I am working with players that are a younger but also with a squad that is more stable, compared to the Development Squad.
“There is not a massive different in age between Under-18s and Under-21s and what I will try to achieve on the training pitch is the same.
“I will treat players in a similar way and try to get the best out of them.
“Senior Under-21 players are different, those that have been out on loan or who are coming down from the First Team.
“But, in general, most of the players are similar in terms of what they require and expect.”
Jon’s first game will be played later today, away to Cardiff City, who are third in the table.
“These games are good for the players,” he said.
“It is not about going there to win; it is about going there and being able to deliver our style and philosophy to win.
“At this level we need to win games as a result of development, not as a consequence of development.
“It would be a bonus to win the league and the Club wants a winning mentality throughout the age groups but is winning the league a success and is it not a success if we don’t?
“Ultimately, our success is players in the First Team.
“We will aim to win and hopefully we can win the league and progress as far as we can in the FA Youth Cup.
“But ultimately, we want players in the First Team.”
In Jon’s first season as Youth Team Manager a Brentford team that contained Alfie Mawson, Josh Clarke and Charlie Adams reached the FA Youth Cup Fourth Round, unluckily losing to Stoke City.
“We all enjoy the FA Youth Cup and I have missed it,” he said.
“We had a good run in the year I was here and it is the one game where the opposition will put their best team out.
“In other games there may be players rested, or playing at Under-21 level.
“At FA Youth Cup level you test your Under-18 side against the best in the country.”
A full video interview with Jon De Souza is available here for Bees Player subscribers