David Artell says that their involvement at first team level in the Papa John’s Trophy has served the club’s Academy players really well this season. Artell has used the competition to give some of his emerging youngsters a chance to play in front of crowds and face League One players. He has been pleased with their displays and it has propelled the pathway of Zac Williams, who has more than held his own as a regular in the team of late.
Crewe won all their group games and then defeated Doncaster Rovers in the second round before exiting the competition to Rotherham on Tuesday evening at the Northern quarter-final stage.
Williams, Connor O’Riordan, Joel Tabiner and Connor Sailsbury have all featured in EFL Trophy games this season and have been exposed to competitive first team action.
Artell told us: “It has been a great experience for them and something they will learn from. You will have to ask them if they have seen what Zac has done as an extra motivation or not. I’m sure it must have done.
“They are on their own individual paths and it is all about getting them ready for the first team.
“Zac has gone on to show that he can play in the first team on a regular basis. Connor O’Riordan was a bright spark for us against Rotherham and Connor Sailsbury got his first taste of it against Rotherham.
“Joel Tabiner has played a couple of times now and what a great experience it was for him to come on against those type of players on Tuesday night. He has probably played better than he did but he is a young kind, learning his trade and he would have learnt so much.
He added: “I said to him afterwards that ‘it was a fast game that’ and he agreed and said it was quick and the opposition were good. I just told him ‘there you go that’s the standard’ and you have to get there as quickly as you can and then surpass it and he will get there because he is a good player.”