What is the purpose of the U23 Squad – part 2

The Debate rages on!

In the last article I posed the question "if the senior team are relegated should that affect the supposed ability of the u23 squad"?

As previously postulated many Premier league and Championship clubs look to league one to loan out and develop their u23 players. We have done so ourselves.

Now I ask the opposite question!

If the senior team are promoted should that affect the supposed ability of the u23 squad?

The reason for this question is because of the current debate on whether the young lads should be given a chance this season in the first team squad. Some say they can only prove themselves by given games others say they are no where near the first team level and are not experienced enough.

Some of these youngsters were part of the academy when we were a premiership team, others have recently joined us. But hopefully both were meant to be developed but for what goal?

When in the premiership then ultimately the premiership surely, but what of the recent additions? and they fact we are in league one!

As said before some say they are not good enough and should remain in the u23 or loaned out, but who too?

Now back to the question "what if we are promoted"? now we have an u23 squad who some deem not good enough to deserve experience in league one. So, they surely can’t be good enough for the championship or premiership. Does that then mean if we are promoted then we have to cast aside all the u23’s and start again?

If we are a club with ambition then what should be the minimum level of our u23 squad be, should this then be independent of the senior squad?

If our goal is the premiership then I believe the youngsters should be developed with that goal in mind and by the time they reach the u23 squad then they should be loaned to or playing in league One teams as a minimum as the correct level for their development.

Therefore, I believe for our academy to be successful then the young lads we have seen in preseason need to be used as backup and given games in the case of injury or loaned out to other league One clubs however if we believe them to have premier league potential then the latter should not be the case.

For the first time in a long time we must be bold and play these lads whether we like it or not because quite simply this should their current level irrespective of the current woes of the first team. If they have been recruited and developed properly then they should improve the squad at this level and continue their development. They will start out rough around the ages, but with games they should grow and improve.

My hope is that the likes of Richardson, Neil, younger, Dyce, Hawkes, Patterson, Kimpy et al will get to play 10-20 games this season! Then if we are lucky are enough to get promoted they will be ready for the next stage of their development, the championship!

If we don’t play them and we get promoted, they certainly would not be ready for the championship if they are not ready for league one! They will have stagnated in some cases over age and will be released without ever been given a chance.

Worse case scenario, they are not good enough and we don’t get promoted. Well as they are being used as backups then any failing to be promoted will not be down to them, but the seniors ahead of them. But the pathway to the first team would be open for those who are better to follow.


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