Shrewsbury Town chief Sam Ricketts keen to see promising youngsters kick on
Shrewsbury boss Sam Ricketts is willing to help academy graduates Ryan Barnett and James Rowland ‘break ground’ in their pursuit of first-team football.
Attacker Barnett, 19, and midfielder Rowland, 17, are both away with Town’s squad in Portugal on a warm-weather pre-season training camp this week.
And both featured heavily against Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night, where Rowland, in particular, caught the eye.
Barnett made four Town appearances last season but spent the majority of the campaign on loan at neighbours AFC Telford United, where he impressed. Former West Brom youngster Rowland is highly-rated and was handed a two-year pro deal by Ricketts in April.
Ricketts confirmed that the door is open for young players should they impress in pre-season. He said: “They’re part of the first-team squad so they will be in (training).
“We’ll see how they do. Obviously if they play well (in pre-season) then they’re going to play, aren’t they?
“If you’re playing well, you’re playing well, regardless of the level they’ve played before.
“At some point they have to break ground.”
Shrewsbury academy boss David Longwell, who was appointed in February, said last month that Ricketts will run the rule over Town youth team players this summer.
And a number of young players have been involved in training at Sundorne Castle in the fortnight leading up to Shrews jetting out to Albufeira.
Salop have a tradition of developing their own youngsters and Ricketts added that the pathway for first-team football should be seamless.
Youngsters Lifumpa Mwandwe, Kian Taylor and Cameron Gregory have remained in the UK in a bid to organise loan moves, where they can get some first-team senior experience.