‘It’s a big bad world out there... League One won’t be any different’ - Nash on his young players’ bid for senior breakthrough
PUBLISHED: 17:03 01 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:03 01 May 2019
Ipswich Town Under 23s boss Gerard Nash spoke to ANDY WARREN following his side’s play-off semi-final exit at the hands of Birmingham City last night.
It's been a really good season for the Under 23s but you must be disappointed that it ended the way it did?
GN: It was a disappointing night of course and it's disappointing the season's over because there have been some really good experiences for the boys along the way.
It would have been nice to go and play at Elland Road again (in the final against Leeds) because that is a big experience for young players. I think we would have got a lot out of that, which is what we're all here to do. That's what it's all about.
That would have been a really nice game to finish the season with.
What do you think the difference was in the semi-final?
GN: I thought Birmingham were the better team.
They are a team who have played together quite a lot and if you look at their team in recent weeks there's been a lot of consistency whereas, the way we operate, we're quite different.
It's not really about putting a huge pressure on to win games, it's about development and developing individual players.
I thought Birmingham were the better team and I thought they had the better players on show for the most part.
There are plenty of positives this season and that should certainly be addressed.
MORE: Andy's Angles: Town Under 23s' impressive season comes to disappointing end in play-off semi
There were some positives in the game, though?
GN: The big positive is that we had a lot of young players on the pitch and they will have had an experience tonight that they may not have had before, in terms of certain things that went on, and I think that's good for them.
It gives them the experience that will hopefully make them stronger.
We had a couple of trialists play (Ethan Patterson and Deese Kasinga-Madia) so we will address how they've done. It's not easy for them coming into a team with team-mates they have no prior relationship with.
I thought Harry Wright made some really good saves in the second half, three or four which were excellent, so I think he comes out with a lot of credit.
There was a good atmosphere at the last two Under 23 games at Portman Road, with fans making a bit of noise. They will have benefited from that, won't they?
GN: The fans have been wonderful in the last couple of games and it reminds me of the last four games of last season, when they were the same when Chris (Hogg), Bryan (Klug) and myself took the first-team.
They have been fantastic ever since Paul Lambert and his staff came in so it's disappointing to perform the way we did in front of them tonight because they've created a good atmosphere.
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You can really see how much people care about the club at the moment. We all do, we all want it to do well, and I think we all want to be successful and achieve things.
Hopefully we can all do that once we've had a bring and come back and do it all again next season.
MORE: 'The real trophy is getting kids into the first team' - Lambert and Taylor on progress of Under 23s
Looking at the season as a whole, there have been plenty of professional deals earned by young players and a few debuts as well, which is a big part of your job…
GN: Our job is to try and improve people and a lot of work goes into that.
A lot of players have progressed and there's been the opportunity for players to play in the first-team in the Championship because the manager's been brave enough to throw them in. They've gone in and handled that environment reasonably well.
There has been positives but some of those positives, for me, have been a little bit different.
Shane McLoughlin has gone on and is playing in League One now for AFC Wimbledon and he's someone who has been a really wonderful person and player at this club. He's had a bit of time in first-team here but has progressed and moved on to another club which is part of the success of doing this job.
Overall there are a lot of good young players at this club and a lot of work is going on. There are a lot of people in the academy who really care about players developing, but it's about doing it and 'stepping across the line' as we call it and making that breakthrough.
It's a really tough world, football, and nobody will give them anything for free. They'll have to earn it and fight for every inch because it's a big bad world out there and League One won't be anything different to that, let me tell you.
It will be a really tough league and there are a lot of footballers scrapping for careers. We have players who can do that but the next challenge is to actually go and do it and get into teams.
But we do have players who can go and do that.
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There must be an enormous sense of pride when the likes of Jack Lankester and Idris (El Mizouni) make it to the first team?
GN: There is, but that's for the whole academy to be proud of.
It's such a big academy with so many good people involved. Somebody will have recruited Jack Lankester as a kid and then you have so many coaches along the way, so it's certainly not the work of one person. Everyone deserves that little bit of credit.
It's great for the football club when they do come through because the fans here love their own and have a real identity with it.
They've been very good with the young players over the seasons and I think it could be a wonderful place to be for the youngsters at the moment.
Does League One maybe help one or two of them because they are more likely to get a game than in the Championship?
GN: It's very difficult in the Championship because you don't see too many teams, certainly at the top end, in the mix for promotion with too many young players. Certainly not five or six, you might have two or three.
This could potentially be a good thing for some of them in terms of playing time, potentially. I don't know, though because that's way above my head and way above my station.
It's been an incredible season of learning so I'll concentrate on helping young players progress, that's my job.
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