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Club News

The future is bright

3 May 2016

With both the U18s and U21s qualifying for the respective finals in the Professional Development League end of season play-offs, it is fair to say the future is looking bright for United's next generation.

And Travis Binnion and John Dungworth, who are responsible for the aforementioned age groups are proud of what has been achieved, believing that exposing youngsters to the demands of what is required to make it in the professional game has aided the players' developments.

Binnion, whose U18s will face Charlton Athletic in the final of their play-off next Monday, remarked: "We feel too many players within Academies hit a ceiling because they've never been taken out of their comfort zones.

"You play on good pitches against good opposition, but sometimes you aren't pushed enough, we've tried to address that here.

"Nick Cox (Academy Manager) along with all the staff have bought into a change, we want lads to have experienced plenty from a young age, both on and off the field, because from 16 onwards it's about your career and making the most of it.

"We genuinely feel we have got a unique programme and this is a unique club. We are not abandoning the perceived right way of playing, but football is won and lost in both boxes and we have to produce players who can deal with that."

Dungworth, whose U21s side beat Charlton Athletic at The Valley on Bank Holiday Monday to set up a final of their own in the coming weeks, added: "In November, December and into January, the manager decided to make a decision on the U21s.

"He actually came to us and said the lads that were going to be in the squad next season, would be made available for transfer immediately.

"That really pushed forward the group behind, the ones who were ready to step up did. Last season, some of the U16s were playing at U18s, so that experience has proved invaluable now.

"In the past, we've probably been accused of over playing. We still play attractive football, but we are keen to get into areas which can benefit the team, ultimately it's about scoring goals.

"The menatality we've had throughout has been 'let's keep it going'. The confidence is higher when you are winning and the lads are more enthusiastic and eager to learn and develop.

"The atmosphere throughout has been excellent in both squads."‚Äč

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