Don't get carried away with youngsters

NEW Academy manager Sammy Morgan has warned Blues fans not to get too carried away about seeing youngsters being given first team debuts.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

NEW Academy manager Sammy Morgan has warned Blues fans not to get too carried away about seeing youngsters being given first team debuts.

While nothing would please Morgan more than to see young players breaking through he cautions against players like 15-year-old prot�g� going in too early.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow's FA Youth Cup fifth round against Watford at Portman Road, Morgan said he understood fans' impatience but backed manager Jim Magilton's caution.

Morgan said: “I can understand the supporters' frustrations and impatience.

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“The manager is under pressure and expectation and if someone goes into the side they have to hit the ground running and that means being fit, being street-wise and up to the pace and able to deal with the pressure.

“There are very few George Bests out there who can do that. Even at Arsenal for example they groom them before they put them in. it has been carefully planned.

“We want them to come in but if they come in too early it undoes all the good work that has been done and supporters will be disappointed.”

Morgan explained why it was better to be safe than sorry.

He said: “To bring boys straight in is very difficult. We perceive as there has to be a bit of a staging post in between. That used to be the reserves but really we see the loan system as the main thing for that now. That is the way through this maze unless you have someone really outstanding.

“There is a big difference between being a boy of 16-17 and going into a man's world.”

Colchester-based Wickham has been on the Town bench a couple of time sand has experienced travelling with the first team squad but Morgan feels it could be too early for him, and other members of the youth team, to step up.

He said: “Connor at 15 is still a boy and people are talking about throwing him into a man's world. He has a lot to learn before you can throw him in against toughened, seasoned professionals who know all the tricks of the trade.

“At the moment he is still a very na�ve young schoolboy who is learning his trade, although very quickly.”

Morgan was not dismissing the propect of at least one player getting a look in with Jordan Rhodes a strong contender once he returns from his loan spell at Brentford in April.

He said: “These lads are following the path of Jordan Rhodes. It is a big gamble to use someone like Connor whereas Jordan ahs been out and has been buffeted.

“He has been scoring in the 89th or 90th minute so his fitness level is proven and that is more likely where Jim would take a calculated decision.

“It could be that he puts any of these lads a taste on the bench and they can gradually feel your way in depending on where the team is towards the end of the season.”

Town will be without tricky winger Reggie Lambe for tomorrow's cup tie against Watford, as he is suspended, otherwise Morgan is looking to field a strong side hoping to win through to the quarter-finals where an away trip to Birmingham City beckons.

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