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Academy & U21s


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9 minutes ago, roversfan99 said:

What is slightly concerning is that we seem to regularly be winning games at under 23 level but there doesnt seem to be much in the way of tangible graduates since Travis to really convince in the first team for such a successful team against other kids. 

I look at those who have come through, Rankin Costello is the closest it seems but even beyond his proneness to injury, he hasnt convinced me beyond being a versatile squad member, not a natural full back and hasnt yet shown spark or stand out features further forward. Buckley apparently stood out at that level but looks a million miles away. Thompson and Pike werent considered when we had no senior options in their positions. Carter and Magloire looks well off in their fleeting appearances, the hope would be to replicate Whartons trajectory (minus injury) with loan spells but the latter being in non league isnt convincing. Mols could barely get a game in the Spanish 4th (I think?) tier and Vale and Butterworth have managed roughly 90 senior minutes between them and seem again very injury prone, especially Butterworth.

 

It seems like there is far too big a gap between under 23 football and the senior team. It's rare a player comes straight from the U23s and starts commanding a first team place, at Rovers this is the case anyway. Yet you have someone like Elliott then who just bypasses it all at 16/17. I think the media scrutiny comes into it and it's mental for players and managers are perhaps too cautious. Cos as you say, the under 23s always seem to be seriously punching above their weight. It's an interesting question, what is the gap and ultimately,is it worth having one? It feels important to me to have one. 

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3 minutes ago, roversfan99 said:

What is slightly concerning is that we seem to regularly be winning games at under 23 level but there doesnt seem to be much in the way of tangible graduates since Travis to really convince in the first team for such a successful team against other kids. 

I look at those who have come through, Rankin Costello is the closest it seems but even beyond his proneness to injury, he hasnt convinced me beyond being a versatile squad member, not a natural full back and hasnt yet shown spark or stand out features further forward. Buckley apparently stood out at that level but looks a million miles away. Thompson and Pike werent considered when we had no senior options in their positions. Carter and Magloire looks well off in their fleeting appearances, the hope would be to replicate Whartons trajectory (minus injury) with loan spells but the latter being in non league isnt convincing. Mols could barely get a game in the Spanish 4th (I think?) tier and Vale and Butterworth have managed roughly 90 senior minutes between them and seem again very injury prone, especially Butterworth.

 

Of all the things to criticise, the Academy is the least deserving. On a good day we'd have 5 or 6 graduates in the first team. Very few teams in the top 4 Divisions can better that. For a Championship side it is an excellent achievement and reflects well on the work done at youth level. 

The current crop aren't all going to come through together, but Pike, Vale, Carter and Butterworth (if ever fit) look like being the next bunch to break through. Find me another club with that kind of success rate. I find your 'concern' very strange. Some clubs struggle to get more than 1 or 2 Academy graduates in the 1st team. 

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2 minutes ago, Hoochie Bloochie Mama said:

Of all the things to criticise, the Academy is the least deserving. On a good day we'd have 5 or 6 graduates in the first team. Very few teams in the top 4 Divisions can better that. For a Championship side it is an excellent achievement and reflects well on the work done at youth level. 

The current crop aren't all going to come through together, but Pike, Vale, Carter and Butterworth (if ever fit) look like being the next bunch to break through. Find me another club with that kind of success rate. I find your 'concern' very strange. Some clubs struggle to get more than 1 or 2 Academy graduates in the 1st team. 

I just thought it was worth pointing out that in the last 2 years in which we seem to have been very successful, that I am not sure if any of them have yet shown signs of establishing themselves at senior level like the 4 or 5 of recent years did/have.

Ultimately academys are never consistently churning out first team players year in and year out, and Travis, Lenihan and Nyambe all have established themselves in the 3 or 4 years prior, as well as Raya who was sold. So its not necessarily a criticism of the academy at all. And it isnt all about first team players, the likes of Rankin Costello and Wharton as squad players means that we save money on having to sign 2 bodies to fill those roles so there is constant use from the youth team.

I also think that the gap between under 23s and its sanitised environment and senior league football is so vast that maybe there isnt THAT strong a correlation between performances there and likelihood of breaking through to the senior team. A lot of the time, stand out prospects may not spend a lot of time there, either due to loans or instant promotion to the first team.

 Out of interest, did Raya, Nyambe, Lenihan and Travis stand out at that level, I genuinely dont know? 

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Just now, roversfan99 said:

I also think that the gap between under 23s and its sanitised environment and senior league football is so vast that maybe there isnt THAT strong a correlation between performances there and likelihood of breaking through to the senior team.

Exactly, which makes our current record of getting Academy graduates in the 1st team even more remarkable. I can only remember the group including Duff, Dunn, Johnson etc being in anyway comparable in terms of numbers going into the first team. We've always produced players since Jack came in and set up Brockhall but a lot of our best youths have ended up in the lower divisions or non-league, and that goes back to the Prem days. The current rate of success of getting youths into the 1st team is incredible, especially as a Championship club. 

 

5 minutes ago, roversfan99 said:

Out of interest, did Raya, Nyambe, Lenihan and Travis stand out at that level, I genuinely dont know? 

I didn't see enough of them at youth team level to know TBH. I think Travis was played at full-back.

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3 minutes ago, Hoochie Bloochie Mama said:

Exactly, which makes our current record of getting Academy graduates in the 1st team even more remarkable. I can only remember the group including Duff, Dunn, Johnson etc being in anyway comparable in terms of numbers going into the first team. We've always produced players since Jack came in and set up Brockhall but a lot of our best youths have ended up in the lower divisions or non-league, and that goes back to the Prem days. The current rate of success of getting youths into the 1st team is incredible, especially as a Championship club. 

 

I didn't see enough of them at youth team level to know TBH. I think Travis was played at full-back.

Absolutely, it was in no way a criticism or doubt as to the worth of the academy. I was just pointing out that considering how well in regards to under 23 league tables that the current crop seems to be doing, there doesnt seem to be any star talent that stands out. The three that have played a role this season, one is a versatile squad player who perhaps hasnt made any position his own and seems to have injury issues that the manager touched on, one has been on some successful loans and of course was unfortunate to get that injury although had never established himself at this level with any regularity prior, and one of course we differ on the opinion of but I am sure that you will concede that he has never broken through and gotten himself a regular run of starts in what is a congested area of our squad. With the others, they have either had the briefest of first team careers and/or see to be either too injury prone or not considered even when there are no senior players available in their position.

It is unreasonable to expect a steady stream of constant new first teamers through the academy each season, and indeed even a couple of squad players (on the back of a spell in which 4 key players came through, one being sold) is very useful.

I seem to recall Travis playing at right back in the 2 dreadful spectacles that were the Checkatrade Trophy games v Stoke and Bury before he had established himself in the first team in midfield a year later.

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2 hours ago, roversfan99 said:

Mols could barely get a game in the Spanish 4th (I think?) tier

 

Yeah Intercity are Tercera División, which is Spain's 4th tier. It's mostly amateur there. You only really start to see a semi-decent standard in the top sides of the Segunda Divisón B (third tier). That's where you get sides who are chasing La Liga 2, as well as the B teams of Barcelona and Real Madrid etc.

Edited by inflikted
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On 27/01/2021 at 20:55, roversfan99 said:

I just thought it was worth pointing out that in the last 2 years in which we seem to have been very successful, that I am not sure if any of them have yet shown signs of establishing themselves at senior level like the 4 or 5 of recent years did/have.

Ultimately academys are never consistently churning out first team players year in and year out, and Travis, Lenihan and Nyambe all have established themselves in the 3 or 4 years prior, as well as Raya who was sold. So its not necessarily a criticism of the academy at all. And it isnt all about first team players, the likes of Rankin Costello and Wharton as squad players means that we save money on having to sign 2 bodies to fill those roles so there is constant use from the youth team.

I also think that the gap between under 23s and its sanitised environment and senior league football is so vast that maybe there isnt THAT strong a correlation between performances there and likelihood of breaking through to the senior team. A lot of the time, stand out prospects may not spend a lot of time there, either due to loans or instant promotion to the first team.

 Out of interest, did Raya, Nyambe, Lenihan and Travis stand out at that level, I genuinely dont know? 

They all stood out for me but out of all of them Lenihan the least

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Finished 3-1 to Rovers, who go top of the table.

I didn't see the whole game. Nolan came on as a second half sub for Evans and I thought he looked very neat and tidy in central midfield. His goal was just being in the right place to put away after Dack and someone else had made heavy weather of good chances.

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