Russell Osman heaps praise on Town teens ahead of FA Youth Cup clash at Bristol City
RUSSELL Osman has called on Ipswich Town’s promising batch of Under-18s to prove they can be part of Mick McCarthy’s first-team in the years to come.
The Blues’ youngsters tonight take their first steps in the FA Youth Cup at Bristol City (7pm ko).
And Osman, part of the Town team that twice won the competition in the 1970s before the club achieved a third success in 2005, has backed academy director Bryan Klug’s belief that some of the age group can make the grade.
Osman, the Blues’ Under-18s boss and a former manager at Ashton Gate, said: “Bryan has done a magnificent job since coming back as academy director. He has his certain ideas about how he wants to play, which is the way Ipswich have always played.
“The next step is the first-team and a few might not be too far away from that. They have got to look at that and say they need to get a pro contract.
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“They need to be trying to be the next left-back in the first-team, for instance, if Aaron Cresswell gets injured. Someone like David October needs to be banging on the door to say I’m good enough to be considered rather than the manager going out and looking for a loan signing.”
Osman wants to keep his young players’ grounded but with Byron Lawrence remaining in and around the first-team and Jack Marriott scoring for fun at Under-21 and Under-18 level, supporters are starting to get excited.
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But Osman revealed: “You could go through the squad.
“Our keeper Michael Crowe is 16-years old and 6ft 4ins. There have been a lot of demands on him – he has played a number of games for the Under-21s all ready – but he has done exceptionally well. He is coming on leaps and bounds.
“Kyle Hammond, a first-year pro, has more or less made the right-back slot his own at the moment while George Fowler, a young lad at centre-half, has come in and done very well after missing the first third of the season with a couple of injuries.
“We are asking him to play a style of football that an (older player) would find hard. George has made a few mistakes, come back and done even better. It has not affected his confidence and he is a great prospect.
We have players who are catching the eye and the nucleus of a nice squad.”