Bowyer: Arsenal proved one game too far for Pool's youngsters

Bowyer reserved special praise for Blackpool defender Will Avon
Bowyer reserved special praise for Blackpool defender Will Avon

First-team manager Gary Bowyer says Blackpool's youngsters have now got to "kick on" after their fairytale FA Youth Cup run came to an end.

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Bowyer watched on from the stands at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night as Pool's youth team were knocked out of the competition at the semi-final stage.

The Under-18s lost 5-0 on the night and 7-2 on aggregate.

It brought an end to a superb run to the last four, which featured wins against the likes of West Ham United, Southampton and Blackburn Rovers.

“It’s been a wonderful run," Bowyer said.

"A Category Three academy, with the facilities we just don’t have in comparison to Category One and Category Two sides, to get to the semi final of the FA Youth Cup and to be going into the second leg level is a fabulous achievement.

“Arsenal will have had players there who play international football and will probably play in Arsenal’s first team.

“Obviously the game proved one game too many for them but our lads have created memories that will last for a lifetime.

“Just being out and playing at the Emirates is a wonderful experience for any footballer.

“They’ve now got to kick on. I was impressed with one or two who stuck in there at 5-0. Will Avon in particular. I thought for a first year he really kept going.

“So there were one or two in there who will hopefully get careers here."