Arsenal have confirmed the appointment of Kevin Betsy as coach of the under-23s after the news leaked this morning.
The 43-year-old joins the Gunners after five years working with England’s youngsters at St George’s Park and said it was an easy decision following fruitful discussions with Academy Manager Per Mertesacker and Head of Academy Coaching Luke Hobbs.
In a statement released on Arsenal.com, Betsy said: “It’s an honour and privilege to be joining Arsenal as Under-23s Head Coach. Arsenal is of course an iconic club in world football with such a rich history. This is also a club with a very strong current record of developing young football players for the highest level, but also placing an emphasis on producing well-rounded young people.
“I’ve had a tremendous five years working with the Football Association in vital roles across the England youth teams. During this time I’ve worked with many hugely talented young players and some amazing colleagues in a wide range of departments. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the FA and in particular Technical Director John McDermott for allowing me to take this opportunity and making my transition into Arsenal so smooth.
“Throughout my recruitment process, I’ve had some extremely positive discussions with Per Mertesacker, Luke Hobbs and senior management at Arsenal, which has made my decision to come to the club even easier.
“My work starts here and together with the talented people at this club, we aim to continue the strong work of providing the pipeline of talent to support the first team, whilst at the same time instilling the values and traditions of this football club, so that young players are ready for life as well as football.”
Per Mertesacker has been leading the search for a new under-23s coach since the club decided to part ways with Steve Bould in May. The 58-year-old was sacked after two years in the role after returning to the Academy following a seven-year stint as a first team assistant coach under Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery.
On the decision to appoint Betsy, who will reportedly be assisted by Ryan Garry, Mertesacker said: “We are extremely delighted that we have recruited through our interview process such a high profile candidate as Kevin Betsy. Kevin joins us from his current position as the Under-18s Head Coach for England. He has had very strong experiences through academy and youth football, and has a wealth of knowledge and ability.
“We are excited that Kevin will drive us to continue to deliver on our vision to develop and build ‘Strong Young Gunners’. Kevin has proved in his coaching career that he will be a colleague who can contribute strongly to our players’ development pathway by leading our Under-23s team, including our staff and players.
“We are incredibly pleased that Kevin is joining us and we discovered throughout the interview and recruitment process that Kevin is excited and passionate about joining the Club and our Academy.”