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YOUTH: A great game to look forward to

3 November 2014

Academy manager Alan Moore on Rochdale and Barnsley FA Youth Cup action

Youth boss Alan Moore spoke to us about the draw at Rochdale on Saturday and about the visit of Barnsley in the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday evening.

“It was a very open game at Rochdale with lots of chances created for both sides,” he said. “They are a decent outfit and you know they’re going to give you a good test. 

“From an attacking point of view we were delighted with the number of chances we created. That’s a real positive for us. However, we gave chances away easily and there are defensive areas for us to work on as we go forward.”

“The lads will learn a heck of a lot from a game like that,” he added. “We’ll have a video session with them and we’re going to highlight certain things so they see things visually to add to what we’ve told them verbally. That will help to remind them what’s at stake if they don’t do things properly. We want to get them back to thinking about the basics because if they get that right they won’t go far wrong.”

“It was a game where all of the parents and everyone else on the sidelines clapped at the final whistle,” he said. “I’ve never heard clapping as loud as that at the end of a youth game. Both teams could have scored two goals each in the last five minutes and it was great for the fans to watch. 

“We were pleased for Jason [Blackburn] because he gauges a lot of stuff on putting the ball in the back of the net. We try to remind him it’s about his overall performance, the runs he makes behind and the link up play, and things like that, because he should take more from a game than it just being about whether or not he scored.” 

“We needed a response from the poor performance at Fleetwood last week and we knew we needed to compete more,” he explained. “To be fair, the lads did that and the message was much like the one given to the first team. We need to stop them from playing first and we managed that for long periods against Rochdale. It was good to see and hopefully we’ll be able to take what we did into Tuesday night."

Team – Fowler, Hurley (Rudd 85), Pearson, Quigley, Douglas, Marshall, Moyes (Bradbury 62), White, Blackburn, Hammell, Elliott. Subs - Copeland, Robson, Brown.

Goal – Blackburn.

Next upUnited v Barnsley, Brunton Park, FA Cup first round, Tuesday 4 November, kick off 7pm

The fixture will be played on the main pitch here at Brunton Park - entry is £3 for adults and £1 for concessions.

United Player subscribers can access full match commentary for this fixture by logging in to the United Player platform and then accessing the MATCH COMMENTARY article.

Click HERE to go to United Player. Coverage will commence from 6.50pm on Tuesday evening.

Alan Moore said: “I think everyone will be up for it. We need to get them performing to the levels we saw against Rochdale consistently, week in and week out, and I think they’ll all be looking forward to the FA Cup fixture as a chance to build on the good things they did on Saturday. 

“Some of the lads will be nervous, some won’t, but it’s a great game to look forward to under the big lights on a great pitch. 

“Barnsley are category 2 academy and this is possibly one of the hardest draws we could have had. I’ve watched them a few times and they have their strengths and weaknesses, like any side. 

“Financially they can get better players in, because they can offer more, but we’ll go out there to compete. They will be favourites on the night so it’s up to us to take the game to them. 

“I think it’s nearly impossible to put a team like this to one side because they are very strong. Yes, we do want to concentrate on our game, but we’ll also have to work hard to stop them from building confidence and momentum. We’ll struggle if we allow them to do that.”

And on how the U18 squad views the competition, he said: “At the start of the year the one game all of the players look forward to is the FA Youth Cup. They want to know when it’s being played and they want to know who they’re playing as soon as the draw is done. 

“It’s quite frightening really how much they put into this competition and that’s because it’s a fantastic one to do well in. They know a run can bring them up against the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United and it does add a bit of excitement.

“From a psychological point of view we’ll see players who will freeze under the lights. Others will step up to the mark and they’ll just want to get on the ball and play their normal game. That happens every year. As coaching staff occasions like this are more for us to stand back and see how they react. We’ll help them along the way but it’s more to see how they cope with it all.”

“Looking at how players react is something I’ve always done because we need to be able to gauge whether or not they will be able to step up to the next level,” he explained. “That’s about playing under the lights in front of bigger crowds when it really does matter. 

“There are some kids who can do it quite easily on a Saturday morning but as soon as they get into a cup game they freeze. I’ve made decisions before based on players who couldn’t handle this type of fixture. They can get used to the type of night it is it in their first year but, if they’re still struggling with it as a second year, then you have to think they’re not going to be able to take that next step. 

“It’s one of the benefits of being at Carlisle United because there is a clear pathway to the first team squad if they do things right. That’s great for the kids to know that but they have to do their part once they’ve been given the platform and tools to do it by us.”

“Being honest, I’d rather play the first game away from home,” he revealed. “That puts the pressure on the home team and the lads can relax into it more. It’s the same right across the country because all of the kids love it and they want to show people what they can do.

“They’ve got to deal with it and they’ve had help psychologically because I think that will be the most important aspect of this game on the night. They’ll cope technically and physically so it’s just the psychological side that could stop them from performing to their maximum. 

“Our psychologist, Jack Blake, comes in and talks to the lads as a group and he does one on one sessions with them as well. It’s about trying to get them to understand what to do when they feel certain emotions, because they can run high and stop you from being at your best in certain situations. 

“They need to learn how to manage that side of their game and their personality. Jason Blackburn is a good example of these sessions working well because he got to a level where he needed to manage his emotions. He found that he could and he became a better player because of it. He was given little techniques and you can clearly see the difference when he’s using them.”

United Player subscribers can see a video interview with Alan Moore 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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