Valencia CF's Miguel Ángel Angulo: “Each player develops in their own way”

FIFA, 04 Apr 2024


As a player, Miguel Ángel Angulo enjoyed an impressive career that included over 300 appearances for Valencia CF, not to mention 11 international caps for Spain. He now coaches Valencia’s B team, also known as Valencia Mestalla. In this interview he gives his unique perspective on how the club develops both the next generation of players and the coaches charged with bringing them through the ranks.

Since moving into coaching in 2014, Angulo has worked with a number of Valencia youth sides, as well as serving as assistant manager of the senior team in the 2015-16 season. This leaves him perfectly placed to assess how the club’s youth system has developed since his own playing days, and to reflect on the specific challenges young players face as they look to make the transition to the first team.

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Part 1: Angulo's development as a player
Part 2: Supporting players and coaches alike
Part 3: The step up to the first team

Read summary

Part 1: Angulo’s development as a player
Angulo begins by contrasting the academy he works in with the youth systems he went through as a player at Valencia and Sporting de Gijón. These academies were well- regarded at the time, but they were effectively training a generation of street footballers, and had nothing like the resources, scientific expertise or technology that modern training centres enjoy. He also reflects on the importance of youth internationals, which he feels were crucial in sharpening his competitive instincts and pushing him out of his comfort zone.

Part 2: Supporting players and coaches alike
Not every player will make it as a professional, but as a coach, Angulo tries to give his players the tools they need to perform at a high level, and to impress upon them the importance of hard work and resilience. Football is a tough business, and young players need to be able to cope with all its ups and downs. At the same time as developing his young charges, Angulo is also working on his own skills, with the full support of his club. He is a firm believer that a coach should never stop learning.

Part 3: The step up to the first team
Finally, Angulo explains how Valencia supports players as they make their way through the ranks towards the first team. The youngest players in the academy are encouraged to focus on enjoying the game. Technical and tactical skills are introduced progressively as players mature, until the best of the bunch reach either Valencia’s top youth side (known as the juvenil) or Valencia B. At that point, the aim is give them the opportunities they need to break into the senior side; the earlier they get there, the quicker they will develop.

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