AN upside to Argyle’s current injury troubles is the emergence of talent from the club’s academy system.
With eight of his first team squad missing through suspension or injury, Derek Adams looked to youth to populate his bench when Argyle met Newport County in the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday.
Alongside second-year professional Louis Rooney were development player Billy Palfrey and second-year apprentices Jordan Bentley and Alex Fletcher.
Rooney was sent on with half an hour remaining, and Fletcher was also given the final ten minutes, plus stoppages, to make his debut and force an impact.
“We were pleased to get three more young players around the squad,” said Derek. “Alex Fletcher made his debut, which was really good for him.
“I was delighted Alex came on for 15 minutes. It was good for him to come into the first team atmosphere.
“For a young boy that played on the Friday night in a South West Peninsular League game, to quickly realise he is on the bench, then quickly realise he was making his debut, it was a good day for him.
“He took the ball in a few times; he was able to complete his pass. He manoeuvred the ball and himself well; he won a couple of flick-ons; he wanted to get on the ball.
“He’s a second-year apprentice and has done really well for the under-18s this season. It has shown that if you do well there, you will get your opportunity in the first team.
“Jordan Bentley had a start at Swansea as well, so that’s two in from the under-18s this season. We look at Louis Rooney and Ben Purrington as well, and it is good for the younger players in the system to see that they can find a way into the first team.
“They have to be good enough – but I wouldn’t have put these players into the first team if I didn’t think they were due that opportunity. They have all shown, over the last two seasons, that if you work hard and have the ability to play, you will get that opportunity.”