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A Familiar Ring


15:35 1st May 2013

Development coach on first under 21 season

The final score of the Molineux under 21s game with Arsenal on Wednesday evening had something of a familiar ring and feel to it. 

The 2-1 reversal meant that of the eight games Wolves lost in the Elite section of the League, six had been by the odd goal and in five of those games the decider came in the dying minutes.

Coach Steve Weaver said: “It is disappointing to lose games but to do so in the last knockings, when we fully deserve something from the 90 minutes, makes it even more frustrating.

“Against Arsenal on Wednesday, there was just two minutes left on the clock when they scored and when we played them at Telford two weeks ago just 20 seconds remained when they got a winner.

“The same applied when we played Liverpool home and away – we went down to goals in the dying minutes on each occasion when a draw would have been a much fairer outcome.

“But there have been some high spots like being one of only two teams to beat Spurs, who look odds on to finish top of the table, like beating Manchester United last Friday and holding them to a draw in the away fixture when we played for 80 minutes with ten men.

“And the very fact that we qualified for the Elite section was really satisfying in itself and it proved what a good opening half to the season we had when we beat the likes of Fulham, Chelsea and Manchester City – all Premier League clubs.

“It has, in all honesty, been very, very close to being an exceptional second half of the season for the under 21s. Being up against young professionals from the top Premier League sides and running them so close on so many occasions has been frustrating. 

“People will say that the League table doesn’t lie but we certainly deserve to be in a better position than we are.”

The coach feels that the newly developed under 21s League has definitely benefitted his charges as well as providing an entertaining spectacle for the followers of second team football.

He adds: “Hopefully, the season will have been a good stepping stone for our development players and now, whether it be here or elsewhere, they will move on to senior level.

“I have enjoyed the under 21 League this season. It was something of a new idea away from the reserve team football we were all used to where all ages could be included. 

“There is a provision in the under 21 rules whereby a certain number of ‘over age’ players can be used but generally speaking most clubs, including ourselves, have stuck with under 21s.

“I think that we have given all the Premier League sides that we have played a good game, and I think that we have been a credit to the competition and, as I’ve mentioned, we have only been a goal difference in so many games from having an exceptional campaign.

“The lads have been terrific. They have endless enthusiasm and have opened the eyes of a few opponents with their work ethic and skills. We were perhaps a little more consistent before Christmas but overall I have been delighted with the way that things have gone for us. 

“Certainly I believe there are players in the group that will be involved with the first team over the next 12 months or so – and that’s what it’s all about. With not so many players going out on loan this season, we have had a much more settled side which, naturally, has been beneficial. 

“Now we are ready for the next batch of players to step up to development level and to see if they can emulate what the current squad have achieved by way of their performances.”

Pictured: Sanchez Watt and Lee Evans in action at Underhill on Tuesday (courtesy Arsenal FC). 

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