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YOUTH: This has done them the world of good

19 January 2017

Youth boss Darren Edmondson with Leicester match reaction

Academy manager Darren Edmondson gave us his reaction to the FA Youth Cup fourth round game at the King Power stadium on Wednesday night.

“I think the lads came away with a lot to be proud of,” he said. “We asked them not to leave anything in the changing room and generally we got that.

“It was a nervous start but we settled into the game and both sides created a lot more chances than the final score line suggests. In the end it was a very good cup tie. Something happened at the back end of the first half where we suddenly started to believe in ourselves and it’s just unfortunate that it took that long for it to happen.

“We probably showed Leicester too much respect in the first 20 minutes or so. Their three midfielders were excellent in what they did and they gave us a real chasing at the start of the game. We managed to settle and we scored a really good goal and that gave us a half time team talk different to the one it would otherwise have been.”

“We spoke at half time about the fact that if we took a bit more care about our possession in the second half we might just cause them a few problems,” he explained. “That was the case and their keeper was needed to make a save on one occasion and we hit the bar on another.

“Leicester will also feel that they could have added to their tally as well, because they created some good stuff, so I don’t think we have any complaints. They were probably the better team on the night but the lads gave it a good go and they can feel very proud of what they’ve done.”

“In the dressing room after the game we told them that the disappointment of being knocked out has got to lead to a desire to have more evenings like this,” he continued. “I’m sure all of the parents will be very proud of this cup run and what’s happened in this game.

“Let’s not hide away from the fact this is a Category 1 Academy side and we’ve given them a good test. The second years now know they need to step up like this for three months and make sure they get noticed by the first team management staff.

“It’s about professional contracts for them now and there’s a lot of work for them to do. They’re aware of what needs to be done and they’ve got to have a really good go at it now. They need to aim to reach the level Leicester reached with the way they moved the ball in this game.

“It can be a tough journey, particularly with the fact they’re also maturing as young men, so it is easy to forget that they’re young people who have other things going on as well. Despite that fact, their focus has to now be on trying to get a professional contract.”

“We’re at a stage of the season where we now have to stand up and be counted,” he said. “High level performances are needed regularly and not just for the odd game. I’m hoping they’ll take a lot of confidence from their second half performance.

“As I say, the second years need to develop a ruthless streak whereby they do everything they can to get a contract. We’ve given them the platform so it’s up to them now. So much of football is about your own desire and will to succeed so it’s time to grow up a little bit and take this on board.

"We can’t let the season fizzle out just because the cup run has gone. All eight second years have got to stand up because we don’t want them all to be released having let it fade away on them.

“This has done them the world of good because the manager was here and he’s seen a lot of effort from this group. Now they have to carry that on and show everyone that they want to be a professional and that they’re prepared to grab it.”

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