The contrasting fortunes of Roach's Cherries academy graduates

·4-min read
Danny Ings, Sam Vokes, and Jamie Whisken (Pic: PA Images / Jon Ashworth)
Danny Ings, Sam Vokes, and Jamie Whisken (Pic: PA Images / Jon Ashworth)

JOE Roach has been a fixture of Cherries’ academy for quite some time now, and will continue to do so as he moves to his new role as head of player progression.

In his first stint with Cherries, Roach had a variety of roles, bouncing between first team duties and the academy.

First hired in 2001, Roach’s initial spell on the south coast ended in 2011. In that time the academy produced some prolific goal scorers, including internationals Danny Ings and Sam Vokes.

He returned in 2014 to again care for the academy, helping Cherries to supplement their squad with academy graduates. Roach’s new role within the academy will see him take a closer look at Cherries’ older prospects, helping to bridge the gap between youth football and the first-team.

We’ve picked three players with contrasting fortunes since departing Cherries’ academy.

Bournemouth Echo:
Bournemouth Echo:

Danny Ings

Arguably Cherries’ most notable academy graduate in terms of what he has done in football after leaving the Dorset club.

Adam Lallana comes close, but the creative midfielder had departed the club for nearby Southampton at the age of 12.

It could have been completely different for Ings if Roach had listened to the advice of a Cherries coach back in 2010.

Labelled as “an absolute nightmare” to manage as a 16-year-old, Roach instead opted to hand Ings a scholarship.

Ings has not looked back since, going on to plunder 62 goals in 168 Premier League appearances and being capped three times for England.

Back when Ings signed his last contract for Cherries before departing to join Eddie Howe at Burnley for £1 million, Ings had told the Daily Echo: “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it hadn’t been for Joe.

“He has made me the player I am and I appreciate everything he has done for me.”

Now with Aston Villa, Ings has picked up a reputation as a reliable source of goals in the Premier League, even if he has slightly slipped out of favour in terms of international call-ups.

Bournemouth Echo:
Bournemouth Echo:

Sam Vokes

Another striker that has Roach to thank is Welsh international Sam Vokes.

Not only did Roach work with him like any other player, but the youth coach recommended Vokes to the Welsh FA back in 2006.

Months later Vokes was starting for the under-21s, the start of an international career that would peak when the striker flicked home the third in Wales’ historic win over Belgium.

At the time of Vokes’ rise to the first team, Roach told the Daily Echo: "It is all about being able to grasp that opportunity when it comes along.

"He was given his chance against Nottingham Forest and took it immediately.

"I tell all the youth team lads 'your opportunity will come - it is just a case of whether you can grab hold of it and deal with the pressure'.

"And Sam has grasped his opportunities brilliantly."

In total, Vokes has made 64 appearances for Wales, scoring 11 times.

Now 32, Vokes is Wembley bound with current side Wycombe Wanderers, after scoring in the play-off semi final win over Milton Keynes.

Bournemouth Echo:
Bournemouth Echo:

Jamie Whisken

Central-defender Jamie Whisken is most well-known for his stint with another Dorset side, with the 34-year-old nearing a decade on the books of Cherries’ non-league neighbours Poole Town.

Whisken made just one appearance for Cherries prior to his release, coming on as a late substitute in a League Cup tie with Wigan in 2005.

Best friend of former Cherry Lallana, Whisken has carved out a successful career with the Dolphins, captaining the side to the Southern League Premier title in 2015.

Whilst Whisken has now made over 350 appearances for Poole Town, it was a nomadic existence for the Boscombe-born defender, bouncing around local non-league sides such as Aldershot, Farnborough and Salisbury.

Those released by Cherries usually find themselves still in the game, playing for local sides. Fellow Cherries youth graduate Luke Burbidge lined up alongside Whisken in over 250 appearances for Poole Town, for example.

Speaking back in 2010 about seeing his former players populating the local non-league scene, Roach told the Daily Echo: “It’s about the football education and there’s a lot of enjoyment and opportunities in non-league football if you go the right way with it.

“We are, in many respects, feeding the local non-league clubs with good lads who’ve had what I’d like to think is a good grounding.

“And hence the reason why they are playing in those numbers at what is a relatively young age for some of them.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting