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YOUTH: Hard work starts now

10 April 2014

Dave Wilkes on the 2014/15 season U18 squad intake

The Carlisle United Academy is delighted to announce seven new arrivals as first year scholars for next season:

Keeper - Tom Fowler
Defender - Matthew Douglas
Defender - Cuan Hurley
Defender/midfielder - Ellis Pearson
Midfielder - Carl Taylor
Winger/forward - Arron Bradbury 
Midfielder - Karlton Rudd

All seven of the lads will attend an induction day this month and will join the club for the start of their two-year scholarship during pre-season in July.

Youth coach Dave Wilkes spoke to us about the new recruits earlier this week.

"We're absolutely delighted to be able to say that six of the seven lads who will be joining the youth team next season have came through our 9-16 Academy ranks," he said. "It's been a really good year for the under-16 age group, in terms of recruitment, and the majority of those six lads have been with us from a very young age. That's great for them and us." 

"The fact that we've got six players through our set-up does suggest that we're recruiting lads who are capable of progressing to the next level," he continued. "That always has to be our objective. We've now shown the younger age groups who are coming through that there is a real target to aim for and it should be a massive boost for all concerned. 

"I suppose the flip side of the coin is that I've had to disappoint nine of the lads from that same age group. That's never a nice thing to do but it's part and parcel of the job. We obviously wish them all the very best because they've been great to work with and they've given it everything. I'm sure they'll go on to do well with whatever they choose to do next."

"It's great for us to see the ones who have made it through," he admitted. "Everyone at the Academy has worked with these lads for a long time so you want them to do well. The last thing I'll say to them as they move on is to understand just how good an opportunity it is for them. They've got to take it with both hands and that means they'll have to come in every day prepared to improve and get better. Their two years will go by quickly and if they don't make the most of it then it will just pass them by. 

"A few have them have been involved with some youth team games already so they have an idea what is to come. However, it's now about attitude and desire every single day and I'm sure they'll learn quickly that there is a lot of hard work to come."

Looking at the new players individually, he said: "Tom Fowler is a very capable keeper. He has all of the physical attributes for that position, he's going to be tall and lean, but he'll need to play games to gain experience. He knows that he needs to develop his technical ability and his mental strength and that's something we'll all be concentrating on when we get him in with us full time." 

"Cuan Hurley is a right back who can also play a bit further forward," he told us. "He's very quick and he's one of the fittest lads in the age group. He's good going forward but he does need to work on the defensive side of his game." 

"Carl Taylor is the one we've taken from outside the group," he explained. "He's come in from Middlesbrough so he's one I haven't seen much of until recently. He's a central midfield player who could probably play at the back as well, and he looks like a good passer of the ball. He keeps it well and sees things around him quickly, and that will stand him in good stead. The north east area has been good for us in recent years, we've got decent relationships with all three clubs over there, and if that means we pick up good players then it's a bonus. 

"Ellis Pearson can play in midfield but he seems to have carved a position out at left back for himself at the moment," he said. "He's very gifted, he can see a pass and he likes to get forward. He's a tough little competitor and he's good in the air for his size. He just needs to come in, hit the ground running and keep developing." 

"Arron Bradbury is a left winger who can play up front as well," he said. "He's a rangey player who will drop the shoulder. He can run with it and go past people, and he'll probably move into Patrick Brough's position on the left hand side. He's been unlucky this season with injuries but we're hoping he'll put that behind him and kick on next season."  

"Matt Douglas is a very imposing central defender," he told us. "He's good in the air and he can travel out from the back and pick a pass. He's got great physical attributes and, without putting pressure on him, he's one of the best centre backs we've had at the club in this age group for a long time. We hope he continues to progress at his current rate."  

"Karlton Rudd is a very combative midfield player with a lot of energy," he said. "He's got good pace and he can get himself up and down the pitch. He just needs to develop his game awareness tactically and technically. He's really focused and he's one where you can tell he really wants to have a go at it." 

"Having so many local lads get through is great for us as coaches," he confirmed. "The specific age group coaches have worked with these boys week in, week out for seven years, in some cases, so it puts a smile on everyone's face when they do well. 

"We go to the games with them, we see the ups and the downs, so it is really good to watch them progress to the next stage. The coaches put a lot of time in and our hope is that we'll get some first team players at the end of it.  

"All seven of our new lads now have a chance to make that happen. The message for all of them has to be that the hard work starts now. If they take this opportunity with both hands, and give it everything, then they'll be able to look back and know they couldn't have done any more. 

"I think a lot of lads who haven't been given contracts will tell you the worst feeling in the world is looking back and thinking they could have done more. I really hope they'll take that on board and they also know we'll be behind them to help them along every step of the way."

United Player subscribers can see a video interview with Dave Wilkes now. Click HERE to go to the Player platform. Follow the same link for more information on United Player, and to subscribe.

Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.

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