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YOUTH: Still learning their trade

29 August 2014

Reaction to last Saturday's Walsall youth game

Youth coach Vince Overson spoke to us about last weekend’s home game against Walsall.

“I think all games are used as learning tools, win lose or draw,” he said. “We have a structure for coaching and hopefully they then transfer what they’ve learned on the training pitch into game situations.

“Unfortunately that didn’t happen in this game, but that’s football. It then comes down to how everyone responds. To a certain extent we encourage mistakes because it’s a great way to learn and to gain experience. 

“They made quite a few errors in the Walsall game and we’ve been able to watch the DVD and highlight areas that need to improve. When it comes down to it the aim is make sure the lads improve and progress over the course of their time with us. It’s never about one game or one defeat.”

“Obviously a bad result or performance can knock confidence at any level so our job is to pick the positives out and build on them,” he explained. “It would be easy to concentrate on the negatives but there were a lot of things done properly that should be highlighted. 

“Not everything went wrong, we saw some good things from all of the players, but they are young lads and they can be quite fragile at times. They’re all trying to find their feet, especially the first years, and you have to expect that they’ll have days where things go against them. 

“There’s a saying in youth football that the only thing that’s consistent is inconsistency. That’s very true because these lads are still learning their trade.”

“We’re still learning about the group as coaches, and I’m enjoying every minute of that,” he said. “They’re all different characters, and they do things in different ways, but you can see quality there in all of them.

“They work hard and you can see them developing and picking things up through every session during the week. That’s important for them and for us. It means they are heading in the right direction and it’s now a case of helping them to find the consistency in what they do so they can take it into a game on a weekend.

“They’ve done that on a number of occasions already and, when they click, they play some very good football. Technically they are already very good and the tactical side of things will develop as they get more experience. That comes down to learning what the game is all about as much as anything else.”

“One of the really good things at this club is that the manager isn’t scared to use his young players,” he continued. “That’s fantastic for the group. I’ve seen at other clubs that the managers don’t want anything to do with the young lads. That’s fine for them, everyone is different, but my opinion is that we are trying to produce players who can go into a first team environment.

“The manager here clearly shares that philosophy because he calls our players across to first team training sessions all the time. Matty Douglas and Connor Thomson have been involved in first team squads, which is the next step up, and things like that provide such a huge carrot for all of them. It’s also very satisfying for the coaching staff to see that kind of thing happen.

“The two we mentioned, Douglas and Thomson, have handled it very well. As a club, we are trying to produce well rounded individuals who can face the challenges this game throws up. These two are both good characters and we have no worries at all about how they conduct themselves.”

“We have the cup competitions coming up now and I think that always brings something different,” he agreed. “They are knockout games so it does add that extra competitive edge. 

“What we remind them is that it doesn’t matter who we play against or what competition it is, it all comes down to that same word – consistency. If they can raise their game for the big side in the cup then they should be able to do it for the league game. Again, that’s all part of the learning process. Once they find that consistency in the performances they will be a very good side.”

United – Eccles, Robson, Pearson, White, Marshall, Taylor, Moyes, Hammell, Blackburn, Elliott (Rudd 83), Bradbury (Quigley 61). Subs – Fowler, Brown, Studholme.

Next Up – United v Hull City, Saturday 30 August, Youth Alliance Cup rd 1, Creighton Rugby Club, kick off 12pm

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