Andrew Davies column: We have real top crop in youth team this season (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Andrew Davies column: We have real top crop in youth team this season
It has been a fantastic season so far for the youth team and there have been a lot of good words around the club.
They have won seven out of seven in the league and went through this week in the FA Youth Cup.
There is a really good crop of young players here and Steve Thornber deserves a lot of credit because he is clearly doing something right.
The FA Youth Cup is such an important competition for youth development. You see players in the final who go on to play in the Premier League.
At Middlesbrough we had the likes of Stewart Downing, James Morrison, Adam Johnson and Danny Graham who all went on to play at the top level.
Of course the further you get in the competition, the better players you come up against. That can only be a good thing.
And these lads have the chance to play at proper football grounds. We got to the final and played at places like St James’s Park and the Etihad – in the end, we got beaten by Man United at Old Trafford.
I think Bradford have some fantastic prospects. You look at someone like Olly McBurnie in training and can spot the talent and ability. But you’ve got to be careful not to throw them in too early. Put them in a game before they are ready and you can kill off a young pro.
I think Phil Parkinson has got the right idea on things like that and letting the young lads travel away with the first-team squad gives them a taste of that big-game experience.
You get the atmosphere and build-up being in and around it and you learn how the first-team boys prepare for the game, how they eat and look after themselves.
Seeing older pros who are still doing the right thing day in, day out to get the best out of themselves is so valuable for young lads starting out.
I was 16 when I went away with Middlesbrough for a cup tie at Brentford. I remember sitting there thinking “I love this and can’t wait to be a part of it.”
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