Under-21 coach says young players deserve Loftus Road Final after consistent season
The club’s Under-21 coach James Collins says that having the opportunity to play at Queens Park Rangers’s Loftus Road Stadium this evening will be a tremendous experience for our young players. Crewe travel to London to face QPR in the final of the U-21 Professional Development League and Collins says being involved in a league format and then qualifying for a knockout cup competition has seen great benefits in the players’ development.
Collins and his coaching staff in the Academy know that winning at youth level is not the be-all or end-all, but he has worked on the winning mentality of the younger players this season and challenged them to taste winning on a more regular basis.
The club’s Under-18 side, led successfully by Alex Morris and Kenny Lunt have qualified for their own final. They face Huddersfield Town at the John Smith Stadium on Saturday morning at 11am.
James Collins told the club’s official web-site: “We have three cup finals for the club this week and believe me the biggest one is the one on Saturday for the first team. We would quite gladly sacrifice defeats in the final of the Under-18s and Under-21s , if it meant we won on Saturday and were safe in League One.
“Saying that it is a great achievement for the two age groups to reach their respective finals. They have finished runners-up in their leagues and then won a knockout semi-final away from home.
“It has been a real experience for all of them and their reward has been to play at Premier League and Championship stadiums. Winning is never the be-all-and-end-all at youth level because it has to be about player development and bringing them through but if we can achieve both then that is even better.
“I have worked closely with the Under-21s and their attitude has been first class all season. They have gone into games waiting to play really well and win. To play at Loftus Road after previously playing at Cardiff in the semi-final is the reward for their efforts this season.
“It is a cup final and is reward for all the young lads and for the staff. If we have success then it should be enjoyed and I’m sure we will all enjoy the experience.
“I know QPR will be waiting to win the game as much as we will. You can play three over aged players and I think the likes of Andy Johnson and Shaun Wright Phillips have played for them this season. I hope they play again because it will be a great experience for our young lads to play against players like that.
“It is a challenge they will all be looking forward to and the bonus will be if we win.”
Crewe play QPR at Loftus Road this evening with kick off at 7pm. Admission is just £1, so if you can please try and get along.