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YOUTH: Start of a learning curve

17 July 2013

Dave Wilkes on the first youth friendly

Academy boss Dave Wilkes gave us his reaction to the first youth pre-season friendly of the summer against Ryton & Crawcrook Albion.

“As far as first games of pre-season go I would have to say that it went quite well,” he said.

“The result wasn’t in our favour (Ryton won 4-2) but in terms of how we played we came away feeling quite pleased.

“There were some good individual performances and the goals we conceded were all down to inexperience and naivety. You will always get that when there are a lot of first years involved and particularly when they are playing against lads who have a grounding in the northern league.

“From the physical and mental side of how to play a game it was a very good learning curve. The good thing for us on the sidelines was that the longer the game went on the more threatening we became.

“The younger lads will have found it to be a bit of an eye-opener. They’ve come from schools football, had a bit of a taste of youth football and then they’ve been thrown in against some very good, older players.

“It took us a while to settle but, once we did, we looked a decent side.”

“The goals we conceded are things we can now learn from,” he explained. “The first one came down to a misjudgement from the keeper and that can happen to anyone.

“The second one came when we didn’t get ourselves organised at a throw in and it was a cheap goal to give away. Their third came when we didn’t track the runners for one of their passing moves and they got in behind us.

“We pulled a couple back after that and they caught us on the break for their killer goal when we were pushing men forward.”

“Scoring goals is always nice to see,” he said. “We got our two and we could have had more. Patrick Brough had a great effort cleared off the line and Kyle Dempsey went very close. 

“Frankie Wallace scored from a header from a corner and Jake Jackson rounded off a very good move from a tight angle. 

“The important thing from the game is that there is plenty to feel positive about. This is the start of the learning process for a big group of them and as long as they take on board the advice they are given then I’m sure they’ll be fine. 

“They showed character, they didn’t fold and they played their game. If they can tighten things up they’ll be a very good side.”

United first half: Brass, McEvoy, Scott, Chisholm, Marshall, Moyes, Wallace, White, Dempsey, Brough, Blackburn. 

United second half: Eccles, Thomson, Scott, Dickson, McEvoy, Moyes, Wallace, White, Hammell, Brough, Jackson.

The first part of this week was a trip into Scotland for some team building and bonding exercises for the U18 squad.

“I think these kinds of trip are good for the lads,” Wilkes said. “It gives them a chance to really get to know each other and to work closely on some of the outward bound style events we have planned. 

“It’s something different and we’ve found in the past that it gets the team spirit going. I’m sure they’ll enjoy it.”

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