Hull FC are pleased to announce the appointment of highly-regarded, former England International, Michael Shenton, as the club’s new Head of Emerging Talent.
The long-serving Super League stalwart, who recently announced his retirement from playing after amassing over 350 career games, will join the club’s ever-expanding Centre of Excellence programme this autumn.
Working alongside Head of Youth Pathways, Matty Faulkner, the pair will oversee an exciting youth programme, with Shenton also set to coach the club’s reserves and academy teams next season.
The former Castleford Tigers captain and St Helens player will be joined by another legend of the Super League era, Kirk Yeaman, who was recently named as the club’s academy and reserve team assistant coach.
It provides a wealth of experience for the club’s brightest young players to learn from, with the pair able to boast between them more than 720 senior appearances, 20 international appearances, 10 major finals and 6 Super League Dream Team inclusions.
Shenton has been learning his trade from mentor Darrell Powell at Castleford, where the 35-year-old has been heavily involved in several aspects of the Tigers’ coaching in recent years under the stewardship of the former Super League Coach of the Year.
His contribution included overseeing training sessions, match previews and video reviews – and was recently seen running the yellow coach’s jersey at first-team games whilst injured.
Described by Powell as ‘first-class’ upon his retirement, Shenton is held in the highest regard across the game and unsurprisingly was not short of suitors for a coaching role, with several potential opportunities offered to the former international centre.
However, having been impressed with Hull’s vision for youth development, the new-look Centre of Excellence programme and a significant investment in new facilities, he jumped at the chance to take on the new role.
Speaking to hullfc.com on his appointment, Shenton said: “It’s a role I am hugely excited for. The opportunity to work at such a great club with some potential future stars, which is such an important job at any club, is one that I jumped at.
“We need to do a better job across the game at developing our young players and giving them a better chance at becoming professional players – I see myself as someone who can absolutely play a part in that.
“I’ve got a lot of experience and insight into what it takes to make it as a professional in the game; when I spoke to the management at Hull, they were excited at the detailed knowledge I can offer the young players to help take them to the next level and prepare them for life in the first-team. I hope I can pass on some little areas of my own game.
“I’ve always had an interest in staying in the game after I retire as a player. I’ve done my education in sport and this a role where I believe I can make a big impact on the careers of younger players and I’ll get a lot of satisfaction out of the role.
He added: “I always like to think I was professional throughout my career, and that is one of the main things I’ll be looking to pass on in my coaching, which in turn should allow the players the chance to buy into the core values of this club and help them along on their journey to take those next steps towards the first-team, before looking at individual games on the back of that.”
As well as coaching the club’s academy and reserve team squads, the role will also be linked to Brett Hodgson’s first-team setup, including the mentoring of the club’s ‘Rising Stars’ – the programme tailored to the club’s highly rated, young first-teamers.
Shenton will be heavily involved in a growing Centre of Excellence pathway which now boasts over 120 of the region’s best players, as well as 40 staff, coaches and volunteers – including some of the best community coaches and scouts from the City of Hull Rugby League network.
Welcoming the appointment, Hull FC’s Chief Executive, James Clark, said: “Michael’s professionalism, leadership and determination really stood out throughout the process.
“He demonstrated a genuine passion for young talent, an aspiration to learn and excel as a coach and his ethos and experience will complement our ongoing plans for the Centre of Excellence and the culture we’re trying to instil across our pathway.”
“He epitomises what we’re looking for in a mentor for our young players and we’re looking forward to the influence he can have on our next generation of Hull FC players, alongside the likes of Kirk Yeaman and Matty Faulkner. Michael will be an excellent addition to our club.”
Hull FC head coach Brett Hodgson, added: “This is an important role for the club and Michael brings quality in his experience.
“He has been in the game a long time at the highest level, he’s a good leader and we’re adding a quality person to our organisation.
“This is positive step in the right direction for the club and an exciting progression of our pathways.”