Derby County youth coach Darren Wassall has explained it's harder than ever before for the club's youngsters to get a first team chance, despite a good standard at the club.
Wassall is generally pleased with the progress which has been made by the teams beneath the first team, but has urged a message of caution for any fans hoping to see the next generation of youngsters pushing for first team places under first team boss Steve McClaren.
“The standard within Derby County’s first team is very, very, high as we have known over the last six years - It’s getting harder and harder for young players to get through, but as a club we have always been able to give them an opportunity,” he said.
“The Academy has had to step up another level – particularly the Under 16s, 18s and 21s – in terms of the opposition that they are playing week in, week out.”
It’s all about balance for McClaren. He has to find a way to try and develop the youngsters at the club because they form the spine of each generation of the team.
However, the Rams are in a situation where they are under a lot of pressure because they are still searching for a route back into the Premier League.
The Championship is a very difficult, high pressure and cut throat league and it’s difficult for managers to sometimes justify throwing a youngster into the team and leaving out a more experienced option.
A first team star like Will Hughes is a great example of the sort of player who can come from the youth ranks to become an important first team player, but McClaren needs to be careful if he’s got thoughts over who to include next season.
If he gets the decision wrong, the confidence of a younger player can be badly affected and as a result, the player can be setback in his development.