It's my duty to give Fleetwood's young players a chance says Joey Barton

Fleetwood's new head coach Joey Barton wants Town to climb higher up the football pyramid with local lads in the team.

Thursday, 21st June 2018, 8:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th June 2018, 12:12 pm

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Each of the former midfielder’s three seasons in the Championship ended in promotion to the Premier League.

Now in his first week of pre-season training as Town boss, the 35-year-old says he will give youth a chance.

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Young players mixing with the established first-teamers this week include World Cup-winning England Under-17 goalkeeper Billy Crellin, Harrison Biggins, Nathan Sheron, Joao Morelli, Lewis Baines, Dan Mooney, Ged Garner, Mamadou Djabi, Michael Donohue, Matty Urwin and Ashley Nadesan.

Barton has been especially impressed with Biggins but urged them all to step up and show him what they have got because he will give youth a chance.

He said: “I was a young English player given an opportunity in Manchester City’s academy and I took that opportunity. It is a responsibility of mine and other young British coaches out there to create pathways to give our lads opportunities to play first-team football.

“In this country we have a bit of an issue whereby there is a bottleneck that players cannot seem to get through. If they do they usually show they are more than capable.

“There is a responsibility on us to develop young local talent. I’m aware of Biggins, Baines, Sheron, Donohue, Nadesan... young lads who are going to get an opportunity in pre-season to show us what they can do.

“It is important that we communicate to the academy we have growing at Poolfoot and also to young kids in this area that Fleetwood is a club where you can see the pathway to the first team if you sign as a 14 or 15-year-old.

“We cannot go out there and buy Lionel Messi. I can’t see a point in the future when we will be able to.

“What we have to do is develop local talent and be mindful that there are some big clubs around us who will probably try to steal all of our best players at some point.

“I see that as a badge of honour, and I think if the players believe in what we are doing here they will want to stay and be a part of it.

“They know what happens if you sign for a Manchester City – you can get lost in their infrastructure.

“They have players from all over the world. At Fleetwood, if you are a talented player and you want to be a pro for the right reasons, you are given every opportunity to be successful here.

“All of us will be proud in five or six years time if we have got a club that is further up the football pyramid, littered with talented local boys.

“I think that is what every fan wants to see and I think that should be our aim as a club.”