22:50 10th January 2017
Wolves development squad manager Scott Sellars has praised the Checkatrade Trophy for giving his youngsters the chance to play against seasoned professionals.
The young Wolves lost 2-1 away to Swansea City Under 23’s on Tuesday night at the Liberty Stadium in the third round of the competition.
Sellars believes that giving youngsters the opportunity to compete with senior football clubs is the way forward.
“People complain about this competition but after every European competition we moan that we've got no kids coming through,” Sellars began.
“This has been a fantastic tournament to say actually there’s a lot of good young players around.
“Do we need some of the players that come from abroad? I don't think we do.
“I think if we give these boys exposure to men’s football, we can keep them a bit longer and then they will have the same development pathway that they do abroad - that gives them the chance to go and play men’s football.
“We might have more English kids and we might not be moaning in July like we do after every international tournament.”
Wolves have had a number of players make the step from the development squad up to the first team this season.
The Under-23’s boss says that without this competition, his players might not have had those opportunities.
“I think the most positive thing about this competition is that Harry (Burgoyne), Morgan (Gibbs-White) and Connor Ronan have all made league debuts and none of them, I don't think, Paul would have been as confident if they hadn't played in this competition,” he said.
“Seeing them playing against men and seasoned pro’s and be better and dominate them, I think has helped Paul think ‘yeah these are ready’.
“Playing ’23’s’ football, at times, you don't always see that because they're playing against boys of the same age a lot of the time.
“I think it’s been a fantastic tournament for the experience of playing against men and playing in real competition.
“It has been great for me and my staff in terms of preparation and dealing with games and how to win a game with them.
“I think overall from our point of view, we’ve always said from the start of it, it’s been fantastic.”
Wolves, who were the dominant side in the first half took the lead in the game, through a fine finish from Christian Herc.
Swansea turned the tables after the break, however, and two goals from Oliver McBurnie saw them into the Quarter Finals.
Sellars said that his side deserved a draw which would have taken the game straight to penalties.
“I’ll look at it from a coach’s perspective and it was probably a classic game of two halves,” Sellars admitted.
“I think in the first half we were excellent, we had lots of shots and the only thing that I can be critical of was our finishing at times.
“We needed a bit more belief that we were going to score, that was the only thing that let us down in the first half.
“When it’s one nil, it’s always tight and then sometimes the lads think that we haven't taken those chances in the first half.
“What disappointed me most was all the things that we said at half time, we didn't do.
“We didn't play in their half, we didn't do things simply, we tried to play the ball down the middle of the pitch.
“Then the ball goes wide, they cross into the box and it’s a goal - from that point on we lacked belief and we lost the game.
“We’ve had one or two half chances and I think Brad (Reid) has had a good chance but I think probably over 90 minutes a draw was a fair result.
“Over the first half, I think we should have won and over the second half they deserved to win.
“We’ve finished the game with two 16-year-olds in centre midfield, so from our point of view we are really proud.
“We’re proud as a football club at what we’re doing.
“We saw Connor (Ronan) be the best player at Sheffield Wednesday, we've seen Bright (Enobakhare) developing to be a regular face now in the first team, Harry’s (Burgoyne) had his chance and didn't let anyone down - he looks a really good young goalkeeper, he looked really good again tonight.
“We’re really positive in what we’re trying to do as a group of players and a group of staff - we hope at the end of it that there’s some success.
“At the moment there’s a lot of success for us on the development side of things and hopefully there’ll be success for the first team too.”
The development squad will have an opportunity to get back to winning ways as they host Blackburn Rovers on Monday 16th January.