Lambert: Lankester's a Huge Talent
Thursday, 8th Nov 2018 15:05
Blues boss Paul Lambert has hailed 18-year-old striker Jack Lankester as a “huge talent”, the frontman quickly having made an impression on his new manager. Lankester was the standout performer for the U23s as they drew 2-2 with Cardiff City on Monday and Lambert says it’s important to keep an eye on the young players coming through from the academy.
Lankester, an unused sub against Preston last week, became the first player born in the 2000s to appear for the Town senior side when he came on as a sub in the QPR match last month and also came off the bench at Millwall.
“Good player, very good,” Lambert said when asked about the striker, who spent time on loan with his hometown side Bury Town last season.
“Good talent, a huge talent. A terrific left foot. He’s not a baby but you have to give them time as well.
“He might make impacts here and there. He might start the odd game or so or might come off the bench. But it’s a big, big ask to throw somebody in, but a big, big talent Jack is.”
Reflecting on Monday’s U23s match, he added: “I went to the U23 game and you can only see what your eye tells you and they did well in certain aspects of the game, some things were maybe not so good, some things good.
“But the important thing is not the result at that level, it’s seeing who could make an impact in the first team and I can see who’s maybe there and who is maybe not.”
He says a manager ought to find the time to watch academy teams even when the first team is in the position the Blues are at present.
“You can if you want to build something,” he said. “I watched the U15s last night and they were really good, the really young ones.
“You’ve got to see what’s there and what’s happening at the football club. I think that’s important. The kids need a manager where when they do get older they’re going to get a chance, that’s normal.
“I don’t think you can be ignorant to it and turning a blind eye to the U18s and U23s, somebody might just pop out at you where you think, ‘He’s good enough’ and I think, especially the U23s and at U18s level, if you’re good enough and I think you are you’ve got a chance and it doesn’t faze me to throw you in.”
Another of this season’s top performers in the U23s is Danny Rowe, who has rarely featured in the first team at Town since his move from Macclesfield in January 2017.
Lambert included him on the bench on Saturday and brought the 26-year-old on with 13 minutes remaining during which time the Mancunian came closest to scoring a winner for the Blues.
“I think a very good footballer, I really do," Lambert said. “Danny’s problem I think is that he need to be a little bit fitter to play the way I want to play.
“But on the training pitch with the ball there’s no problem. I thought he actually did quite well when he came on last week. He was unlucky not to score so I’m pleased with him.”
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