Aussie trailblazer confirmed as Fulham U21 coach

Australian Scott Miller has been confirmed as coach of Fulham’s Under-21s side.

Former Under-21 coach Kit Symons was placed as caretaker manager at Fulham in September, following the dismissal of Felix Magath, and on October 29 was announced as the new full time first team boss.

Miller, who has spent eight years at the English Championship club, was previously an assistant coach to the first team and has worked under Magath, Roy Hodgson, Mark Hughes and Martin Jol.

The Melburnian told FourFourTwo he is enjoying his new position.

“The role is providing me with a new challenge, a different dynamic, with the focus being on player development and performance,” said Miller who is coaching the side alongside former Celtic midfielder Peter Grant.

“I believe it's a vital stage in my own coaching development, as I have only ever worked at first-team level. I see it as a learning opportunity, many current managers have coached at U21 level, it's at this point you are afforded time to develop your on style of coaching.

“However more importantly, the position gives you not only the opportunity to develop players on field, however to have a positive influence off field also, in regards to respect for their position within football and discipline. I'm enjoying the close link I have with the players and the mentoring perspective.

“Naturally, you want to work at the top level, and being ambitious that being at first-team level. However, I quickly established that this coaching pathway is of great benefit in the long term. It would have been easy to move, however Fulham FC have invested in my coach education and I respect their support.”

With the Cottagers’ Under-21s Miller has the likes of Australians Adam Taggart and Ryan Williams in his squad. Fulham’s Olyroo defender Cameron Burgess is currently on loan at Scottish club Ross County.

“The aim is to develop young players technically and tactically, ensuring they have a high level of game understanding and an awareness of differing systems of play,” he said.

“These young players next step is first-team football, it's a huge jump in responsibility and pressure.”

Under Miller Fulham’s Under-21s have registered three wins, one draw and six losses. Socceroo Taggart has been on fire of late, scoring three goals in his past three games.

“The biggest challenge with the U21 squad is it's utilised in support of the first-team, this occasionally affects team selection and overall performance as you may have to play first-team players returning from injury,” he said.

“The results have been mixed, overall individual performances have improved upon review of technical reports. This is encouraging, we are putting first-team expectation and pressure on these young players to play a certain system and style of football.”