Defending champions City host Wolves in our Under-18 Premier League opener at 14:00 (UK) on Saturday 12 September, when the Spaniard will take charge of his first competitive game since replacing Gareth Taylor as lead coach.
Vicens is familiar with what is required at under-18 level, having worked with the Academy outfit as Taylor’s assistant for the past two seasons.
Having initially coached the under-12s and under-13s upon joining the Club in the summer of 2017, he admits it was always an ambition of his to manage the older age group and he is looking forward to leading both the players and staff this season.
“It’s been great being part of the Academy and I’m really pleased to be appointed under-18s lead coach,” he said.
“It was one of my aspirations when I first joined the Club, so I’m really happy.
“It is a completely new team compared to last season and they are a really young squad, but that makes for an exciting season.
“Darren Hughes has been promoted from the lead coach of the U11s to be my assistant. We have been working together for a few months and we already have a good relationship.
“The rest of the staff is the same and I’m really pleased with that. I think it is easier when you become a lead coach for the first time to be working with a group of staff that you already know.
“They are a great group and they make my life easier as a coach.”
Vicens enjoyed significant success in his time working with Taylor, lifting the 2019/20 under-18 national title as well as both the 2019 and 2020 under-18 Premier League Cup.
However, he insists silverware is merely a consequence of his main objective, which is to ensure players improve individually and collectively so they are ready to make the step up to the Elite Development Squad (EDS) next season.
The team will primarily be made up of first year scholars and Vicens acknowledges there may be a period of adjustment as they adapt to the rigours of the Under-18 Premier League, but he is clear with his expectations; the players must be totally committed, both on the pitch and to their own progression.
“It is never an easy season for them, especially in the first few months when they are making the jump to the under-18s,” he explained.
“The most important thing for us is the development process of the players, so that by the end of the season they are close to being an under-23s player next season.
“What happens on the pitch is a consequence of the coaching and development process. But, let’s be clear, every time we step on the pitch we want to win.
“We will compete and the players will do their best. We will be young, it will be a challenge and we will focus on development, but we will compete.”
Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been an unusual pre-season for Vicens and his squad, but they go into the game against Wolves on the back of three pre-season wins.
Everton, Blackpool and Burnley were all beaten and the new coach now wants to see his players execute their strategy on the opening day.
“For me, the most important thing is that we can see the things we have been working on in training,” he added.
“Obviously it is not going to be perfect in the first game, but we want to see a focus on the details that we think are important and 100% effort, which we always expect from every player that steps on the pitch.”