Steve Bould says he’s enjoying his new role in charge of Arsenal’s under-23s having returned to an Academy role after seven years with the first team.
Bould, who has effectively swapped jobs with Freddie Ljungberg, was in the dugout on Saturday as an Arsenal side made up of youngsters drew 3-3 with Boreham Wood.
The 56-year-old said he was pleased with some of his side’s football but made clear they have a lot of learning to do in the season ahead.
“I’m really enjoying being back out on the grass and coaching, so I’m really happy,” Bould told Arsenal.com.
“The first half was difficult for us physically and losing a goal so early on in the way we did was frustrating, but I half expected it. That’s the experience these kids don’t get very often so it’s a massive learning curve for them and I was delighted with the way we played in the second half. Our work on the ball was superb so I’m delighted.
“Some of the lads are only 17 and they’re really good players. We’ve got some good players coming through and there’s an awful long way to go, but that’s the joy of the job I’ve got. I really enjoy working with them so I’m looking forward to helping some good players come through.”
He added: “Most of these lads have rarely encountered adults on the pitch so it’s a completely different outlook for them in terms of any game that they’ve played. I think the boys will learn something from this.”
Bould also spoke in general terms about his ambitions for the season, pinpointing a focus on player development.
“The only interest I have is development and I mean that,” he said. “That’s not necessarily winning games, it’s about players learning the next step, the next level and improving themselves tactically, technically, mentally and physically.
“The question after that is whether they can go and grab themselves a career – and hopefully we can have one or two come through our system and play for us. But if we don’t, we try to produce well-mannered and respectful men who can go and get a good career in football.”