'I'm all for young players if it's the right time and can make a difference' - Hurst on youth
PUBLISHED: 06:00 05 October 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Paul Hurst is keen to give young players their chance at Ipswich Town but only when he feels they are ready to cope with the rigours of Championship football.
A total of six homegrown players (Teddy Bishop, Flynn Downes, Ben Morris, Andre Dozzell, Myles Kenlock and Luke Woolfenden) have made a combined 11 appearances under Hurst during his time at the club, with Downes having contributed six of those. Morris, Woolfenden, Tristan Nydam and Josh Emmanuel have all been loaned out to gain experience elsewhere.
Hurst, who has praised young forward Jack Lankester of late and has been a regular at Ipswich’s games at youth level since his appointment, is keen to give young players their chance but only when he feels they are ready.
“I think there have been a few,” Hurst said, when asked about including young players in his side. “I think if you compare that to last season, circumstances dictated when some of those lads did play and I think that in turn has given some people the wrong idea either where they’re at or expectations about what these players can do at this moment in time.
“You have to be careful, I had a conversation with someone here, they said it would almost be good if you played the youth team. The youth team wouldn’t win a game of football (at Championship level).
“There are the baby-ish arguments that we haven’t won a game of football yet either, which we know, but at the same time let’s be realistic about it.
“I’m all for young players playing if it’s the right time for them and I think that they can make a difference for us.”
A midfield trio of Tristan Nydam, Andre Dozzell and Flynn Downes started Town’s final pre-season friendly of the summer, against West Ham, but Hurst did not believe the three players were ready to start in the league together.
“That seems a long time ago,” he said. “I don’t think personally that would be the right midfield to start.
“There are always counter arguments and ways of looking at it but the situation we’re in, do you want too many young lads out there? They might play with that freedom, but it might be too much.
“I’ve personally seen one or two things where I think it’s been difficult for one or two of the younger players, but at the same time I’m going to pick a team that I think is right on the day. And if that includes young lads then hopefully they can rise to that challenge.”