Under-18s’ coach Mike Whitlow was pleased to see two under-16 players represent the under-18s in Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Burton Albion.
A goal either side of half-time for the Brewers secured victory for the visitors in what was a full-blooded contest at the RH Academy.
Despite the defeat, Whitlow insists there was plenty of benefit in the game for his young side, which included under-16 players Darien Wauchope and Taylor Anderson.
“As an individual, losing your personal battle, that hurts,” he began. “[The players must ask themselves] what have you taken from the game? Were you as a good as last time you played? What have you brought into the game today isn’t the system that we played?”
“Every game you play you want to win, but for these lads, what have they learnt?
“We could win 20,000 games on the bounce and never get one through [to the first team]. We want to get a player through, we want improve these players.
“There’s a couple of young lads in there, young Darien [Wauchope] who got on today, he’s an under-16 that’s joined us and Taylor [Anderson] is still in there.
“That was really pleasing that they’re involved, but we’ve got to develop these as individuals and collectively as a team, they’ll improve.”
Whitlow then went on to analyse his side’s performance against the Brewers.
“From kick off they pressed and all of a sudden they got a corner and they’re on the front foot.
“We never really got to grips with their movement in midfield and winning second balls.
“If we’re being honest in central areas at times, we lost the battle. If you can’t compete with the intensity of your opponent and match the work ethic of your opponent then it’s a tough old gig.
“If you want to be a professional footballer, the minimum is giving everything.
“Sometimes you’ll have an off day, but the one thing you’ve got to do is come off that pitch knowing you’ve given everything.
“Every day in training these lads have to come in and work hard, every time they play they’re trying to earn a shirt because if they don’t, there’s another lad that wants that shirt.”
Our under-18s are back in league action next weekend away at Scunthorpe United.