Lambert: Young Players Have to Earn the Right
Thursday, 28th Feb 2019 18:14
Town manager Paul Lambert has confirmed that Town are talking to England U18 international right-back Dylan Crowe, who has previously been linked with the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Brighton, RB Leipzig, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Benfica, about a professional contract, a number of his contemporaries having recently put pen to paper on deals, Armando Dobra having signed his terms yesterday.
Lambert has also stressed the importance of young players keeping their feet on the ground and not believing they have made it before they’ve even had a kick in first-team football, whatever they might be told by their agents.
The Town manager says he’s been impressed by Dobra (pictured below), 17, who recently attended an Albania U19s training camp, and has joined Kai Brown, Brett McGavin, Idris El Mizouni and Corrie Ndaba in signing a first pro contract, while fellow academy products Luke Woolfenden, Teddy Bishop, Jack Lankester, Ben Morris and Harry Wright have recently extended their terms.
“Very good,” he said. “They’re 17 and 18-year-old kids who I think have got a chance but have to have a pathway. I think it’s important.
“Dobra’s trained with us a couple of times and he’s done well. He needs time to develop, they need time and patience and strategy to get them to play.
“But when they’ve come up and trained with the first team, they haven’t disappointed, they haven’t done that.
“Sometimes when you throw a young player in, they tend to swim quite quickly and I think having had Idris and people like that that have come up, Corrie’s done well when he’s come up, so there is a nucleus of young ones there but in this moment it’s a little bit too soon for them.”
Asked what the situation is with Crowe, who has been capped by England at U15, U16, U17 and U18 levels but so far hasn’t penned his first professional deal, Lambert responded: “It doesn’t matter if you’ve played for England youth team or not, it doesn’t matter. That’s no major, major claim to fame.
“If you use that for your fame, my God you’re in trouble because you’ve got miles and miles to go.
“I think that’s important for any young player, just because you train with the first team or you play in a youth level game, it’s not professional football yet. Get in the first team and play a lot of games, then it becomes reality.
“So I don’t buy into this stuff about ‘national team, youth player’. Potentially, definitely, things are there but you’re never going to achieve anything with potential, you have to produce and I think that’s important. I don’t want young kids to be big-headed or their nose goes in the air and they thing, ‘I’ve arrived’.
“You’ve not arrived until you play 10 or 15 years in the game, then you think, ‘I’ve had a decent career’.
“I don’t want that culture in the club that because you’re a youth player or you’ve trained with the first team that you think you’re a player. You’re not.”
Lambert added: “I think the club’s talking with him and his other people. As I say, sometimes agents think players are better than they really are or tell them what they want to hear.
“As long as I’m here I don’t want a culture where people think young players have arrived without earning the right. That’s one thing I’ll not put up with.”
Told that former boss Mick McCarthy made similar comments during his time at Town, Lambert added: “Probably people who don’t know as much that goes on in the real football world. Mick’s 100 per cent right, I don’t want kids to walk about round here and drive fancy cars in here not having done anything to earn it.
“Actually performing week in, week out and keeping their feet on the ground, being respectful, doing the right things, living the right way.
“I don’t want kids to be seen doing silly things outside and, as I said, fancy cars. It’s not healthy for them, it’s not a good upbringing and our job is to try and keep them on the pathway where we think, ‘He’s going to be a good player’ and try and develop him in the right way.
“I think that’s important for me to try and develop them in the right way and try and keep their feet firmly on the ground.”
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