Train with a Latics Legend.

Train with a Latics Legend.

Enter our exclusive competition to win a session with Chris Kirkland.

Professional Player Academy are delighted to announce that former Liverpool, Wigan Athletic, Sheffield Wednesday and England International, Chris Kirkland, is joining the coaching team. 

Win a FREE training session with Lee Croft.

Win a FREE training session with Lee Croft.

Enter our exclusive competition below to win a training session with Lee Croft. 

This is an incredible opportunity to train with the former Manchester City, Norwich, Derby County, St Johnstone and Oldham Athletic superstar.  

Nutrition and Football

Nutrition and Football

It’s a Tuesday afternoon, I'm currently sat in a lovely restaurant  in Worsley, waiting for friend and footballer Ian Henderson to arrive….the door swings open and in he walks, as per usual just laughing and smiling to himself!! 

Modern Footballers

Modern Footballers

Recently I came across an article by Arsene Wenger in the guardian, young footballers being isolated from the day to day normalities of life.  It was a very interesting read coming from one of the best managers/coaches from the past two decades in the premier league.. 

      This week Professional Player Academy interviewed Andy Bond, current captain of AFC Fylde.  Andy has played over 250 league games and he’s hopefully looking for another promotion to the National Conference this year. Vastly experienced central midfield player, talks to us about his career to date and what ambitions he has for the future.    Firstly how is the season at AFC Fylde going and are you confident of promotion?    The season is going very well, currently we are sitting top of the league, were we have been for the majority of the season. We feel that the title is in our hands, but we can’t take the foot of the gas, as there are some very good teams fighting for promotion also. The manager has set us a target and we aim to achieve it.    Tell me about your earlier career and what stand out moments were there?    One the biggest highlights of my earlier career was winning at Wembley in the FA Trophy Final with Barrow FC. Absolute fantastic day and one that will be with me for the rest of my days. It’s every young footballers dream to play at Wembley, especially in front of 80,000 ( ha ha only joking, 25,000 on the day) but still, the whole day was probably the highlight of my career to date.    As a central midfield player what was you say your key attributes are?    As a younger player I was very much a box to player and I scored a lot of goals. Teams in which I played in, tended to have a holding midfield player, so that gave me license to go forward and to get into scoring opportunities.  As my career has progressed I have assisted a lot more goals and took more of a holding role up, dictating the play. I have always been fit and I like to get around the park.    Crewe, Barrow, Colchester United, Stevenage, Crawley Town and currently at AFC Fylde, amassing over 250 appearances, were would you say your most enjoyable part of your career was?    Well as youngster I was at Crewe from the age of 12 to 20, this was obviously a good time for me as I was in a great footballing academy, learnt my trade and made some great friends.  Once I left Crewe and moved into non-league with Barrow FC, this became the making of me as footballer. There was a great team spirit and I was playing 1st team football. I had to learn very quickly at Barrow, the conference was a very tough and physically demanding league, but I was confident in my ability and I knew that If I worked hard I would fulfil a lifelong dream of plying my trade as a Professional Footballer.  Barrow was a very enjoyable time in my career.  Then the dream came true and Colchester United signed me and I had 4 brilliant years at the club making over 150 appearances. So, there was different periods over my career that have been equally as enjoyable and rewarding.    Who is the best player you have played against and the best player you have played with?    Best player I played against...... without a doubt Jordan Henderson. I was playing at Colchester United at the time and we were away to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. It was a packed house, i was playing against Henderson in central midfield, he was outstanding! He was constantly on the move all over the pitch, always wanting the ball no matter what situation. Technically brilliant and very quick, the whole Sunderland play was dictated by him....bearing in mind at the time, he would of been a 20 year old!! Obviously now he is held in high regard across world football, he was different class.   The best player I played with was  Michail Antonio now of West Ham United. He came on loan to Colchester United from Reading in 2011. It was only a short stint but I could see then there was something about him. Physically a powerhouse, very quick, a great engine on him and he had some real quality. I didn’t know how far he would go, but being an ever present in the West Ham side over the past few years he has gone onto the elite level.     What advice do you have for young footballers looking to make the grade in the modern day?    My advice would be never give up, as the number 1 piece of sound advice. When I left Crewe at 20 years old, obviously I was bit upset to be leaving a professional club. But in my own mind I knew that 1 day I would make the grade. So I took a step down into the conference, learnt my trade and then came back into League 1 with Colchester United. In a sense the knock back in my earlier career stood me in great stead for the rest of my playing career, it gave me a determination to succeed.     Tell us about AFC Fylde, what’s the clubs ambition and your ambition.    When I first met with manager, his assistant and the chairman back in May last year I knew this was going to be a project that I wanted to be involved with and the club that I wanted to sign for. The 3 of them are very ambitious and they want to be in the league by 2022, so much so that we have 2022 sewn on the side of our shirts! This is where I want to be with the club, back in the football league.  So hopefully we can get over the final hurdle this season and start in the Nationwide Conference in August.     Are you planning for the future after football, do you have any plans in place and are you looking to stay in football?    I have already started putting plans in plans in place for my future and I’m currently underway with my coaching badges and I’m hoping to progress on to my UEFA B License this summer. I feel that I have a lot of advice and knowledge to pass onto a young footballer looking to make the grade, so the coaching route is something that I will be definitely looking at.  Also at times I spend time away from my wife Sophie and my son Joseph, so once the career comes to an end it will be nice to spend more time with them…..but plenty of life left in me yet!!  Just like to thank Andy for the interview and really appreciate your time and good luck for the rest of the season.  Ticks.  This week Professional Player Academy interviewed Andy Bond, current captain of AFC Fylde.  Andy has played over 250 league games and he’s hopefully looking for another promotion to the National Conference this year. Vastly experienced central midfield player, talks to us about his career to date and what ambitions he has for the future.    Firstly how is the season at AFC Fylde going and are you confident of promotion?    The season is going very well, currently we are sitting top of the league by 11 points and we are in great form at the moment.  We feel that title is in our hands, but we can’t take the foot of the gas, as there are some very good teams fighting for promotion also. The manager has set us a target and we aim to achieve it.    Tell me about your earlier career and what stand out moments were there?    One the biggest highlights of my earlier career was winning at Wembley in the FA Trophy Final with Barrow FC. Absolute fantastic day and one that will be with me for the rest of my days. It’s every young footballers dream to play at Wembley, especially in front of 80,000 ( ha ha only joking, 25,000 on the day) but still, the whole day was probably the highlight of my career to date.    As a central midfield player what was you say your key attributes are?    As a younger player I was very much a box to player and I scored a lot of goals. Teams in which I played in, tended to have a holding midfield player, so that gave me license to go forward and to get into scoring opportunities.  As my career has progressed I have assisted a lot more goals and took more of a holding role up, dictating the play. I have always been fit and I like to get around the park.    Crewe, Barrow, Colchester United, Stevenage, Crawley Town and currently at AFC Fylde, amassing over 250 appearances, were would you say your most enjoyable part of your career was?    Well as youngster I was at Crewe from the age of 12 to 20, this was obviously a good time for me as I was in a great footballing academy, learnt my trade and made some great friends.  Once I left Crewe and moved into non-league with Barrow FC, this became the making of me as footballer. There was a great team spirit and I was playing 1st team football. I had to learn very quickly at Barrow, the conference was a very tough and physically demanding league, but I was confident in my ability and I knew that If I worked hard I would fulfil a lifelong dream of plying my trade as a Professional Footballer.  Barrow was a very enjoyable time in my career.  Then the dream came true and Colchester United signed me and I had 4 brilliant years at the club making over 150 appearances. So, there was different periods over my career that have been equally as enjoyable and rewarding.    Who is the best player you have played against and the best player you have played with?    Best player I played against...... without a doubt Jordan Henderson. I was playing at Colchester United at the time and we were away to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. It was a packed house, i was playing against Henderson in central midfield, he was outstanding! He was constantly on the move all over the pitch, always wanting the ball no matter what situation. Technically brilliant and very quick, the whole Sunderland play was dictated by him....bearing in mind at the time, he would of been a 20 year old!! Obviously now he is held in high regard across world football, he was different class.   The best player I played with was  Michail Antonio now of West Ham United. He came on loan to Colchester United from Reading in 2011. It was only a short stint but I could see then there was something about him. Physically a powerhouse, very quick, a great engine on him and he had some real quality. I didn’t know how far he would go, but being an ever present in the West Ham side over the past few years he has gone onto the elite level.     What advice do you have for young footballers looking to make the grade in the modern day?    My advice would be never give up, as the number 1 piece of sound advice. When I left Crewe at 20 years old, obviously I was bit upset to be leaving a professional club. But in my own mind I knew that 1 day I would make the grade. So I took a step down into the conference, learnt my trade and then came back into League 1 with Colchester United. In a sense the knock back in my earlier career stood me in great stead for the rest of my playing career, it gave me a determination to succeed.     Tell us about AFC Fylde, what’s the clubs ambition and your ambition.    When I first met with manager, his assistant and the chairman back in May last year I knew this was going to be a project that I wanted to be involved with and the club that I wanted to sign for. The 3 of them are very ambitious and they want to be in the league by 2022, so much so that we have 2022 sewn on the side of our shirts! This is where I want to be with the club, back in the football league.  So hopefully we can get over the final hurdle this season and start in the Nationwide Conference in August.     Are you planning for the future after football, do you have any plans in place and are you looking to stay in football?    I have already started putting plans in plans in place for my future and I’m currently underway with my coaching badges and I’m hoping to progress on to my UEFA B License this summer. I feel that I have a lot of advice and knowledge to pass onto a young footballer looking to make the grade, so the coaching route is something that I will be definitely looking at.  Also at times I spend time away from my wife Sophie and my son Joseph, so once the career comes to an end it will be nice to spend more time with them…..but plenty of life left in me yet!!  Just like to thank Andy for the interview and really appreciate your time and good luck for the rest of the season.  Thanks for reading,   Ticks,   Professional Player Academy. 

This week Professional Player Academy interviewed Andy Bond, current captain of AFC Fylde.  Andy has played over 250 league games and he’s hopefully looking for another promotion to the National Conference this year. Vastly experienced central midfield player, talks to us about his career to date and what ambitions he has for the future.

Guest Blog: Lee Croft's Top 3 Teammates

Guest Blog: Lee Croft's Top 3 Teammates

I'm going to list the top 3 players I was lucky enough to play with through out my career spanding from my England youth team days, right the way through my 6 clubs to date.  It was hard to pick just three as I've played with many great players over the years but here goes! 

Hard Work & Dedication

Hard Work & Dedication

Another great of the English game has announced his retirement in the early part of 2017, but what fascinates me about Frank Lampard is how hard he worked to become one of the best midfielders for club and country over the past 21 years.