Lambert: We Have to Rebuild Around the Young Guys
Tuesday, 12th Feb 2019 17:27
Blues boss Paul Lambert says the club will be at a crossroads in the summer regardless of which division it is in and he will look to rebuild with the crop of young players coming through from the academy.
Lambert handed 22-year-old Teddy Bishop a new contract last week with plenty of other younger academy alumni also progressing through into the team.
“The club has to start to build around guys like that, the young guys,” Lambert said. “This club’s got incredibly good young players there that could be an incredible part of the future of the club going forward - Bishop, Downes, Lankester, Dozzell, Kenlock, you can go through a helluva lot of them.
“It’s exciting times, they need a little bit of time, but they’re doing great. But Bishop, I think, touch wood, he’s doing really well.
“Getting through the injury problems I think is vital for him, and even on Sunday he came on and I thought he was excellent.”
“I actually think the club has got a big crossroads in the summer,” Lambert added. “Whatever happens to the football club, what we do with the club, we build with the young ones coming through and help them, we’ve some experience there and we build round it and we have an identity that people can relate to.
“A lot of these kids have grown up together, which is an added bonus. Sometimes fortune favours the brave at certain times. And if you don’t give them a chance you’ll never, ever know, so myself, [owner] Marcus [Evans] and [general manager football operations] Lee [O’Neill] will have a chat about it and let’s see if we can rebuild this.”
Does he believe the academy is going to be even more important for Town going forward? “If you’re not going to use your academy then there’s no point in having it.
“You’ve got to get young players through at some point and there are an abundance of lads here at the football club, who have done great with the kids coming through.
“The thing for me is whether I give them a chance or not, which I do with young ones if I think they’re good enough and the enthusiasm’s there, I’ll throw them in.
“I think it’s important that we have an infrastructure here to say which way we’re going to go.
“As I said before, the loans, one or two is OK, but you can’t have five or six. All of a sudden six players go and then you have to rebuild again in the summer, it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t add up.
“You’ve too many loans, you’ve got to manage them, it doesn’t make sense and that’s why I think it’s important that the club comes to a decision, ‘OK, this is the road we’re going to go down’.”
Lambert disputes the idea that it would be easier throwing youngsters in in League One.
“It’s not any easier than throwing them in in the Championship, every league is tough, every league you play in is really tough,” he added.
“Even in the Championship, if we can stay in it, we’ve still got to build around them, allied to one or two experienced ones but there’s got to be a structure within the club where you do have your own players coming through.”
The U18s play Watford in the FA Youth Cup this evening and even below that level Lambert says there are some talented players on the way through.
“I think that’s a good thing for them,” he said regarding the FA Youth Cup. “There are one or two kids there, even the younger age groups that are doing really well.
“I think we have to identify a pathway for them coming through, we can’t block it up because there’s no point in being a young player here if it’s going to be blocked off every time, whether it’s through loans or experienced players. There’s got to be a pathway through for them.
“One thing you get from the young ones is you get an incredible hunger and desire. Allied with good older ones, that’s the way you hopefully can build a bit. I think it’s got to find an identity.”
However, he’s wary about putting them into the team given the current situation with the likes of Andre Dozzell rarely having featured since he took charge.
“What I don’t want to do is put them in a pure pressure pot,” he reflected. “I think Dozzell’s going to be a really good player, I’ve always said that.
“Josh Emmanuel’s only been back for a month or so, so I’ve not really seen him in a game. Myles Kenlock, I know what he can do, a young lad, so I don’t have a problem with him either.
“There are a lot of good young ones here. As I said before, you can’t getting in loan after loan after loan. It’s not the way going forward. It has to have a structured of what it can achieve or what it can build.”
Regarding Dozzell, he added: “I’ve had him in and about the squad. I think Bishop and Flynn Downes have been playing really well, Cole Skuse has been playing really well. Trevoh Chalobah has been playing really well.
“They’re all young lads, 18 or 19 years old, 22 years old, they’re all relatively young.
“The thing with Dozzell, I think his time is coming, that’s the great thing about him. He’s not too far away.
“He’s similar to Jack Lankester, that type of kid, we have nail Dozzell where he plays week after week, I think that’s going to benefit him, but he’s a big talent.”
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