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Aston Villa taking academy manager Mark Harrison from West Brom

By Matt Wilson | West Bromwich Albion | Published: | Last Updated:

Aston Villa are recruiting academy manager Mark Harrison from Albion in what represents a shrewd appointment for the Villans and a blow to their rivals.

Mark Harrison.

Harrison has been in charge of the Baggies academy for 13 years and during his time at the club it has regularly punched above its weight.

Under his guidance the academy has produced playing talent such as Saido Berahino, Kemar Roofe, Tyler Roberts, Izzy Brown, Romaine Sawyers, Rekeem Harper and Sam Field.

Last season, Albion boasted more England youth internationals than Manchester United and Liverpool.

Their under-18s reached the FA Youth Cup semi-final for the first time in 41 years with a team predominantly from Birmingham and the Black Country.

Harrison has also developed a pathway for coaches to thrive in such as Darren Moore and Jimmy Shan, who each rose through the ranks before leading the senior team.

Promoted to academy manager under former technical director Dan Ashworth, Harrison has been an integral part of Albion for more than a decade.

He also helped Shan with the senior team towards the end of last season before the club appointed Steven Reid and Michael Appleton as interim coaches.

Harrison will take up the running of Villa's academy at Bodymoor Heath, replacing Sean Kimberley, who has held the role since 2014.

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He follows goalkeeping coach Neil Cutler, who also left Albion for Villa last year.

The search for Harrison’s successor at Albion is underway, with the Baggies exploring the possibility of both an internal and external appointment.

Options from within the club include Ryan Maye, who is currently head of academy coaching and has previously worked for the FA and Chelsea.

Mike Scott, who took the under-18s on their FA Youth Cup run, and Steve Hopcroft, Albion’s head of junior recruitment, are two other possibile candidates.

Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson
Football MMPJ - @mattwilson_star

Sports reporter at the Express & Star, who primarily covers West Bromwich Albion.

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