"I’d like to do what Paul McGuinness and Warren Joyce do, get involved and try and progress the young lads and get them through."

- Alan Smith

22/08/2013 08:32, Report by Adam Marshall
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Exclusive interview: Alan Smith

I went to Lilleshall at 14 and it was difficult as it was totally different from anything that I’d experienced. Even looking back then, I knew at 14 that I was getting taught things by the FA that was just chalk and cheese compared to my club. I believe your make-up as a player is down to where you are brought up as it’s where you actually develop as a player and I knew I was learning the technical side of things from the FA but the other side of the game was massively necessary for me. At 16, I needed to have a professional contract. I was doing training and what I wanted to do but it was a difficult balancing act to go to the FA where they teach you the basics and what they want you to learn how to develop but then you go back to Leeds at the time and they want you to be totally different to the FA side of it.

So was it awkward in terms of the different messages you were receiving?
You think the club is more important at that age than the FA and you might not ever get that chance to play for England anyway. You want to make a living in the game, first and foremost, so you have to be adaptable to how your club plays.

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