Meet Carlisle Utd's new golden generation
Last updated at 11:50, Saturday, 11 August 2012
Greg Abbott can picture a day when homegrown stars like Mark Beck, Dave Symington and Brad Potts are starring for Carlisle United.
The Blues boss believes the trio are among the most promising crop of Brunton babes since the golden age of the 1990s when Rory Delap and Matt Jansen rose through the ranks before becoming Premier League stars after they were sold for more than £3million.
Beck, Symington and Potts were handed the chance to show they’re ready to graduate into his first-team squad in this summer’s friendlies – and all three grabbed the chance with both hands.
Seven goals in four games, albeit against non-league opposition, helped Beck – an 18-year-old from Gateshead – to catch the eye.
Potts, 18, from Newcastle, showed he could be a serious challenger to established right-back Frank Simek and Whitehaven-born 18-year-old Symington showed he isn’t far away from challenging for a first-team place either.
And youth team captain Tom Berwick, 17, will have come on leaps and bounds playing alongside club captain Paul Thirlwell after he was thrown in for Carlisle’s final friendly against Morecambe in midweek.
Their progress wasn’t lost on Abbott – a man often accused of overlooking home-grown talent during his three years of rebuilding – who insists the old adage of players who are good enough are old enough still rings true.
He said: “You look at the team which finished the Morecambe game and Dave Symington did ever so well, Pottsy looked very steady, Tom Berwick did well alongside Thirs, Becky did well in the first half holding the ball up and he will have learned much about keeping the ball and keeping us in possession to bring other people into play.
“It’s a really big learning curve and we are really, really pleased with the progress they are making.
“I hope fans will work with us to let them develop and try to work their way into the first team.
“As soon as I think they are ready they will be going in, but they are all on the right lines and we are absolutely delighted with them at the minute.
“If the boys are good enough, they will play.
“While it is pleasantly surprising, we have had a good idea about this crop. I keep in touch with youth team coach Eric Kinder about what’s happening. I know about all the youth team players he has got at the minute.
“We’ve known they were going to be a good group right from midway through last season.
“It is fantastic encouragement for the youth system and for the work everybody is doing at the club.
“We’ve worked with these boys quite a bit because they come to the first-team training ground. That’s the way we have to do things. We are looking for the next Matt Jansen and the next Rory Delap. If we can find one, that will be fantastic news for the football club.”
If they can maintain their progress, Abbott, who was previously academy coach at Leeds United, insists he will have no reservations about blooding them in the first team.
Questions have often been raised about why the Carlisle manager has seemingly overlooked homegrown players and instead raided the youth ranks of Premier League clubs for their cast-offs like Liam Noble and Chris Chantler.
Only Tom Aldred and Gary Madine have made the transition from youth team stars to first team players during Abbott’s reign, and both opted to quickly move on.
“People say we don’t play young players but we’ve actually had one of the youngest teams in League One for a long, long time,” said Abbott.
“The players we’ve had coming through haven’t been good enough to play. That’s the reason they haven’t played – not because anybody doesn’t want them to play.
“All the players we’ve released have all gone down and out of the game. Nobody has gone on to do anything to make us think we have made any mistakes. That is key in football.”
First published at 10:53, Saturday, 11 August 2012
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
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