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Bruno Lage: Time for Wolves cubs to step up

Wolves boss Bruno Lage believes it is time for the club's biggest young talents to spend more time with the first team – as the under-18s prepare for their crunch FA Youth Cup semi-final tonight.

Luke Cundle (L) celebrates victory with Maximilian Kilman (Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images).
Luke Cundle (L) celebrates victory with Maximilian Kilman (Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images).

The talented group, led by coach Steve Davis, have impressed this season and booked their place in the club's first semi-final in the competition since 2005, where they will face Manchester United at Old Trafford tonight.

Wolves put huge importance on the pathway for youngsters into the first team, with Max Kilman and Luke Cundle both breaking through this season.

And Lage, who honed his coaching career in the Benfica academy, would like to see some of the 'big talents' spending more time with his senior squad.

Lage said: "Where can you find, for the right price, a central defender like Max?.

"It takes time. He worked with Nuno for around three of four years and now one year with me.

"Where can we find a player like Luke, who played for the first time against Tottenham in the way he played? These kind of things take time.

"I know the way, because I've worked in academies, and I know what we need to do with these kids. We need to give them time and confidence, but the most important thing is to give them space to start working in the first team.

"There's no secrets about that. The big talents need to start working in the first team. It's a different rhythm and speed but they will learn every day."

The under-18s and under-23s do often help the first team prepare for Premier League games and Lage says he is not surprised to see the FA Youth Cup success this season.

"It's so important for the club and they are doing very well," he added.

"They will represent the club in the best way and for me it's nothing new, because I've worked with these kids since the first day.

"Every time I have one team with me in training, and also their manager. Either the under-18s or under-23s are always working with us and it's very good.

"This is the future – that's the pathway the club has. We have strong players in the under-23s and some of them have already worked with us.

"There are young, talented players in the under-18s, who also sometimes play with the under-23s. That shows the work that the people from the academy are doing here. The examples are what Max and Cundle have been doing since the first day.

"It's so important that the fans understand the project. We have a solid base, a good group of kids with talent that need space and an opportunity to work here with the first team and to play in the first team."

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