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The Potential Of Youth

PUBLISHED

12:53 26th June 2013

Jackett assesses future foundations

“If there was ever a time to be a Wolves player between 18 and 23, you won’t get a better chance than now.”
Those are the words of Head Coach Kenny Jackett as he aims to take Wolves into a bright, new dawn.
Jackett knows any success would not come entirely down to younger players and, in League One particularly, there will be the need for some hard-nosed experience.
But what the quote clearly shows to all those aiming to make their mark at Molineux next season is that they will certainly have an opportunity to impress.
From there, it is up to them.
“With a Category One we have to back our own players,” said Jackett.
“Young players can surprise you. They won’t all necessarily do that but if there was ever a time to be a Wolves player between 18 and 23, you won’t get a better chance than now.
“At present we’ll start by looking at these lads and then make assessments as to where we are after that.
“You won’t necessarily do it with a whole team of young players – there must be some reality to my selection.
“But I’ve seen a high number of them play and they look like they’re ready for their chance.
“I feel there are some good, young players at the club to base the team on.
“They’re not 17 or 18 – they’re 20, 21, 22, so it’s quite a good crop.”
Danny Batth for example has already won promotion from League One, David Davis has played in all four divisions while Anthony Forde and Matt Doherty have already played in the Premier League.
Jake Cassidy has been prolific in League One, Aaron McCarey has featured there for Walsall as well as a recent senior Republic of Ireland call-up while Liam McAlinden, Jack Price, Jamie Reckord, Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Zeli Ismail have also been in and around Wolves’ first team set-up.
Also both Bjorn Sigurdarson and Leigh Griffiths, who played their youth football elsewhere, would fit into Jackett’s age bracket as would the younger figure of midfielder Lee Evans, and much is expected of them next season.
So there is certainly plenty of potential to choose from.
Jackett added:  “People might just look at the players who have come through the academy but Bjorn is only 22, and Lee Evans, who came from Newport who we had all see do well before Wolves paid around £200,000 for him, is 19 in July and people say he was close to getting in the team at the end of the season.
“It will be interesting to see how he does.
“You look at him physically and although he hasn’t got any league experience, he’s experienced in the Conference and that’s a tough league, physically.
“So when you’re looking around underneath, there are some good players who people talk very well of.
“They also speak well of Price, Forde, Ebanks-Landell and Cassidy – it’s not as if they aren’t any good players here.
“Doherty came into the side towards the end of last season, Sigurdarson and Griffiths are only 22, so in football terms, they’re not kids, they’re the right age.
“Cassidy got goals for Tranmere last season, and, although I haven’t worked with McAlinden yet, I see a guy who’s 6ft 2ins or 3ins and can score goals, which is something to be looked at.
“McCarey got into the full Irish squad at the end of the season, and then there’s Ismail, Forde, Ebanks-Landell – what are these players going to come back like?
“It will also be interesting to assess Jamie Reckord after his loans.
“Quite often a player goes out on loan, benefits from the experience and comes back a man.
“If that happens with some of these young players it would be fantastic.”
The new Wolves won’t be built in a day – it’s an ongoing process that will take time – but Jackett is clearly not for hanging about in terms of shaping and revitalising the squad.
Keen to separate where possible the issues of players moving on and his plans for next season, he is pleased that there is enough within the developing crop of youngsters to build some foundations for the future.
He added:  “There are two separate things: Wolves going forward and putting a side together from August 3rd that can be successful, and a separate issue is the players that are going to move on.
“I understand that it all turns into one because it’s a business and there are contracts, but at present it needs to be separated. 
“What I would say is that there are a lot of players here so I don’t think in the meantime we will be short of players.
“I’m under no illusion that the transition that I think needs to be happen is something that can just be done in one day.
“But I do feel that within the club already there is a base and a nucleus to build on.”

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