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Shrewsbury kids backed to make the jump

David Longwell is confident a number of Shrewsbury Town’s young and upcoming talents can knock on the first-team door in the future.

David Longwell the first team coach of Shrewsbury Town (AMA)
David Longwell the first team coach of Shrewsbury Town (AMA)

Salop have played younger sides in both EFL Trophy games this season, with a full youth side put out in the opening clash with Wolves Under-21s.

And in the defeat to Port Vale on Tuesday night, five youth graduates started the game with nine playing a part in total.

Longwell believes Shrewsbury are offering their younger players more opportunities than other clubs – and asked if he is confident some can knock on the first-team door in the future, he said: “I think so, when you look at their performances in training.

“It is a big jump, I am not stupid to realise it isn’t, and there are so many different factors, developing physically and emotionally, and we are working to narrow that gap and given them a better chance.

“In the game, I don’t think you could say any of them struggled.

“The great thing about the manager is he’s given them opportunities that other clubs won’t give, particularly with the amount of opportunities.

“We are all about trying to bring our own players through if we can – some clubs don’t do that, but we put nine out there.

“Look, we could play more senior boys, but we are looking at other aspects about what is more important for us, and it is to get players back but give these boys a chance, and from the supporters’ point of view they have to realise that. How do we bring these players through, and which longer term is going to be really important for the football club?”

Salop are now out of the EFL Trophy with one game to go – after Wolves Under-21s beat Stockport County on Tuesday night.

They head to Edgeley Park next month, but despite dropping out of the competition Longwell explained how the club has a development structure to continue progressing their young talents.

He explained: “We integrate them a lot in training, and developing through training.

“The first-team players who didn’t play (on Tuesday), training and they had two 16-year-olds with them, who did really, really well.

“So, there is a strong link, and they get chance to develop and work with the manager and the senior players, who are good with them. Then we will decide whether to put some out on loan, that’s the other side of it.”

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