Town’s supporter liaison officer Mike Davis has helped with the development of youngsters such as Christos Shelis in Shropshire.
And he pointed to the EFL experience in the England squad heading for the European Championships – including former Town loanee Dean Henderson – as proof that lower-league experience is key.
Davis said: “It shows that Premier League clubs keeping their players to play in under-23s, while it might help them staying around in their structure, it doesn’t help players long-term.
“They need to be out playing proper football, against big bruising lowerleague defenders, with the pressure on a matchday which you don’t get in under-23s.
“It’s important these players are blooded in the right way. The players who are proving to be a success at the moment are those who have gone out, got the experience and tailored their game around learning the game properly rather than turning up in exhibition games every week.”
Town have their own set of promising youngsters on their books and Davis believes they are in the best place.
He added: “I had first-hand experience looking after Christos (Shelis) coming through, knowing him, he’s now playing first-team and European football in Cyprus.
“He started at Arsenal’s youth, got released, went to Grimsby and then to Town, he learned the game.
“I’m not sure if he’d have stayed in Arsenal’s youth whether he’d have progressed as much. He told us the different playing at that level and stepping up to what you’d call a man’s dressing room with seasoned pros.
“That’s where these kids tend to learn the game, off experienced guys.
“To be fair I think that’s what we’ve tried to do this season, with Tom Bloxham up front, throw him into the first team and see how he progresses, that’s the only way you’re going to find out, by chucking these kids into proper football, you can’t tell from reserve and youth games.”