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David Longwell: EFL Trophy more about developing youngsters for Shrewsbury

David Longwell paid tribute to Shrewsbury Town's nine academy graduates who were given run outs in the EFL Trophy - insisting the club have been using it as a 'development competition'.

David Longwell the first team coach of Shrewsbury Town.
David Longwell the first team coach of Shrewsbury Town.

Salop's young side, which saw five youngsters handed starts were convincingly beaten by a more experienced Port Vale side - with striker Dennis Politic lashing home a hat-trick.

And former Shrewsbury man Brad Walker completed the scoring late in the game, but it was more about the experience for Salop's young crop rather than the result something the first team coach admitted won't be something everyone agrees with.

"It is not really about the result for us, we have decided to use it as a development competition," explained Longwell.

"Maybe not everyone agrees, but as a club we want to use it to get players back from injury, for example Elliott Bennett tonight was fantastic and it was good to get him back.

"And we put out nine academy kids tonight, six of them are still scholars and that is an indication of what we want to do.

"Yes, the result is disappointing but it is what we are trying to do long term.

"I thought some boys were outstanding in my opinion. They had one or two young players on at the end, and we had nine, and we have to remember, Tom Bloxham is 18, Charlie Caton and Josh Barlow is still young and they need minutes.

"Josh Bailey and Declan Hutchings were outstanding, they played really well against proper men."

Politic capitalised on two defensive errors for his second and third goal - and Vale showed their cutting edge by taking their clear cut chances in the game.

Longwell admitted that the young Salop charges showed inexperience at times - but insisted they will learn much more from their defeat compared to youth games.

He added: "4-0 flattered it a bit. We gave away poor goals, but it is about learning.

"Looking back, with experienced players that might not happen but that is not a criticism, it is just the way it is, and they will learn more than on Friday and Saturdays with the under 18s."

Among the Salop youngsters coming off the bench, Kelechi Etienne came on midway through the second period, but went off just minutes later.

Longwell revealed that the youngster had been knocked out in a tackle - but was okay in the dressing room after the game.

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