(Reuters) - Southampton have appointed the FA’s head of development team coaching Matt Crocker as their new director of football operations who will take charge in early 2020, the Premier League club said on Tuesday.
Crocker served as Southampton’s academy boss between 2006 and 2013 before working with Dan Ashworth and England manager Gareth Southgate in implementing a coaching philosophy for the national youth teams.
Ashworth resigned from the FA last year and took up a role as Brighton & Hove Albion’s technical director and Crocker will now follow a similar path.
"The Southampton way is at the very core of everything we do here at the club, with a strong focus on our player pathway into the first team," Saints CEO Martin Semmens said in a statement here
“For our club to be successful going into the next decade, within an increasingly competitive Premier League, we must seek to strengthen our pathway and further develop every detail of our football operation.
“Matt was the outstanding candidate in Europe for this role, head and shoulders above anyone else, as he brings deep experience and knowledge to the club, but also a history with The Southampton Way.”
Crocker, who also worked at Cardiff City as an academy manager between 1999 and 2005, is set to take the role vacated by Ross Wilson after his move to Scottish club Rangers last month.
At Southampton, Crocker oversaw the programme for players aged nine to 21 which has been credited with the development of players such as Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Luke Shaw who came through the club’s academy.
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge