Boss delighted with his young players progression
Steve Davis says the progress being made by the likes of James Baillie and George Cooper this season has only spurred their fellow young team-mates on. 18-year-old midfielder James Jones was the latest Academy graduate to mark his first team debut when coming off the substitutes’ bench late on at Crawley.
The Scottish Under-19 International then followed that up with an impressive 45-minute appearance against Sheffield United in the FA Cup on Saturday. Jones replaced Chris Atkinson at the interval to play wide right as Davis altered his tactical approach.
Steve has been impressed with the progress made by the club’s Academy youngsters and says that others such as Callum Saunders and Perry NG will only see that progression as a motivation.
The Alex boss told the club’s official web-site: “The young players have progressed into the first team squad sooner than we thought they would. We thought it would be after Christmas before we would be considering them but they deserve to be there.
“George has been fine and has scored a couple of goals, which has been great for his confidence at this level. James Baillie was sound again on Saturday in what is always a difficult second game.
“James Jones came on at half-time for his home debut and he can be proud of his performance. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience and was buzzing afterwards.
“Callum is itching for his start and as a manager you want that hunger and desire in your young players. He wants to be playing in the first team and has that ambition like the rest of them.
“Callum has been in good form for the Under-21s and on Monday he was the first one to grab the ball when we were awarded a penalty. He missed it but he showed he had that confidence to step up and take it.
Steve added: “He will be thinking of scoring a goal a game and giving us something to think about and that is what I want. The kids coming through have been a real bonus for us and there is still more to come.”