It is normal for new signings to describe their moves as “a no-brainer” or similar, and even in the case of an academy manager returning after six years, the feeling is the same.

Eric Kinder does not pretend to be anything other than delighted to be back at Carlisle. He says he barely glanced at the contract he was offered before signing it, and describes the process that led up to that moment in the same way.

“When I met David [Holdsworth, United’s director of football] he just said, ‘Before I start, if I offer you this job, will you take it?’ I said yes. He said, ‘Well, this meeting’s gonna be really short’.”

United were as keen on Kinder as he was on United and, although the Blues interviewed other candidates, the idea of bringing back their former head of youth from a productive 2006-13 period was clearly the most attractive choice.

It is not entirely true to say that Kinder is stepping back into his old job – an academy manager’s role now, under the Elite Player Performance Plan, is different to how it was as head of youth in his first Blues spell – but Kinder will bring the same principles as before.

He wants to spend as much time coaching as he can, despite the administrative workload of EPPP. He wants to generate home-grown Cumbrian players for Carlisle, but will not shy from looking further afield if that is where the talent lies – as he did before, when bringing teenagers like Gary Madine, Tom Aldred and Brad Potts to the club and helping turn them into high-reaching pros.

Local players he worked with, like Kyle Dempsey, were quick to nod their approval on social media yesterday at the news he had returned. It is, in every way, a very familiar face back at the top of United’s youth set-up after the recent departure of Darren Edmondson – the circumstances of which have not been publicly elaborated upon by the club – and Kinder insists the hunger is the same as it was first time around.

“Everything I’ve gone into since I started in football, I’ve always felt the same right at the beginning,” says Kinder, who is leaving his assistant manager’s post at Exeter. “There will be ups and downs, as there is in any job. An academy manager’s job is difficult, because the first team comes first and always will.

“But yes, the hunger’s there. If it wasn’t, I’d have had a summer off, watched the Ashes and probably gone away again.”

Kinder has regarded Wetheral, near Carlisle, as his home even when spending the last six years away, with Blackburn and Limerick before last season in Devon. So he is pleased to be back for personal reasons. “It just feels like I’ve come home,” he says, referring to club as much as place.

Before Exeter, Kinder spent four part-time months coaching United’s under-16s. That gave him a brief glimpse into the set-up he will now oversee. Carlisle’s academy is Category Three under EPPP and, for all the challenges faced by a club their size, in a system which enables big clubs to sign young players easier than ever before, he believes it must remain this way.

The alternative, Category Four, would see United’s youth set-up reduced to picking up older cast-offs from other clubs, and abandoning their age group teams. A non-starter, Kinder says.

“If you go to Category Four, you’re giving up your centre of excellence, and that’s not what English football’s about,” he says. “If you do away with the academy from under-9 to under-16 you are basically saying no boy in Carlisle can ever play for Carlisle’s first team, and the only way you can play for your home-town club is when you’re 36 and coming back the other way.

“It’s part of the community. I think it’s important we keep this going.”

Kinder met his coaching colleagues yesterday and will welcome United’s latest under-18 players to an induction night on Monday. This department of the Blues has, under Edmondson, recently produced prospects like Liam McCarron and Jarrad Branthwaite, both of whom are attracting interest from bigger clubs.

The dream, as ever, is for another fertile era of Cumbrian talent. But, Kinder says, he will not be averse to looking beyond the county’s boundaries again. “I think you’re wrong if you take somebody from your own academy who, deep down, you know doesn’t stand a chance but you’re taking him for numbers,” he says. “I think you’re playing with people’s lives.

“If Chris [Blake, one of United’s academy coaches] turns to me and says, ‘Eric, we’ve got six under-16s who are nailed-on for next year’ and I agree with him, it makes my life easier, because I won’t be spending afternoons making phonecalls to Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Blackburn and Preston.

“But if I need to bring somebody from outside I will do, if I think they’re better than we’ve got.”

Kinder says he will bring new experiences back to Carlisle after his time in other posts, not least Exeter, when he was at the front line with rookie manager Matty Taylor. He appreciates the opportunity he received at St James Park, even if it will be “strange” to go with the Grecians next week on a pre-season trip to Jersey he organised.

He says he enjoyed working at first-team level but there would be times at Exeter that he would “disappear from my office” and spend hours watching and speaking to those at the club’s “superb” academy. “The manager would be going mad, wanting to know where I was, but after a couple of months he got to know where I was going to be.

“I went to watch Exeter’s under-18s if they were at home the same time we were, so I quickly realised that I wasn’t going to be able to shake off youth development football. I knew halfway through last season that youth development was for me, and if I was going to do another job in football then it would be reverting back to what I think I’m best at.”

He starts properly at Brunton Park on July 1, at which point he will become closer acquainted with his new right-hand man, Mark Birch, someone he has known for several years. Less familiar is Steven Pressley and Kinder admits his relationship with Carlisle’s manager will be key to making a success of things.

“I think I’ve met him twice – once was when he did his Pro Licence in Scotland with Robert Kelly, who’s a good friend of mine. The next time was in February this year when Exeter came up to play against Carlisle.

“It’s vital that you have that relationship with the manager. The manager’s got to have an interest in youth and I’ve heard really good things about Steven.

“I was lucky in my time here. I started with Neil [McDonald] – we’d both worked together in youth football so he was interested in it. John Ward was unbelievably supportive and wanted to know everything. At the time I thought Greg [Abbott] was tough, but when I look back now, he was actually very good. I learned a lot from him.

“I worked at Blackburn with Gary Bowyer – we grew up working in their academy – and the first-team staff at Exeter had all come through the academy. It would be a shock for me if I ever worked for someone who wasn’t interested in youth football. I’m sure Steven has a lot of interest in it and if I can help him first-team wise, he only has to ask.”

Kinder says the “perfect scenario” for his and the United academy’s work is to produce a player who makes 100 senior appearances and then is sold for as much money as the club can get. He prefers this to allowing a player to leave for higher things before he has made that grade.

The real world does not always allow for such patience. How Carlisle handle the current interest in McCarron, who has played for the first team, and Branthwaite, who has not yet, will shine some light on this conundrum.

Kinder himself has gone a long way to come back but says the pull of “home” was stronger than any misgivings about trying to live up to what he did before. It will be going some to emulate beating Manchester United in the FA Youth Cup, as his Carlisle did in 2008, not to mention sourcing more Madines, but Kinder means to try.

“The only worry was the fact I have fantastic memories of the seven years I was here – the best seven years of my working life,” he says. “The number of players who came through was fantastic, but will coming back tarnish what I did before?

“People do say never go back, but it’s just something I have to do.”