Derek's Praise for Young Guns

ARGYLE'S under-18s lost 3-0 at Portsmouth on Tuesday, though it will do little to dampen spirits.

The young Pilgrims may have lost in Hampshire, in a game in which goalkeeper Cory Harvey saved a spot-kick, but they have already been crowned Football League Youth Alliance South West Champions, with Argyle boss Derek Adams taking note of the young Pilgrims' good work.

Derek said: "They have had a fantastic run, they are a good group of players. I have watched them a number of times this season, and over the last week as well as there have been a couple of games at home. 

"They have been able to perform to a high standard; it can only be good for them and it breeds confidence. Hopefully they will do well over the next 11 games in the next league."

Derek hailed Kevin Hodges and his staff for the work that they do with Argyle's youngsters, noting that the academy is structured very well, with Kevin and his staff to thank for that.

"Kevin Hodges and his coaching staff do a very good job," said Derek. "I allow them to do what they see fit. I do have a wee input in a technical board meeting where I give my ideas, but it is solely down to them to organise the academy structure and they do that very well."

Derek's plans for Argyle's youngsters is to keep them in the club until they are a little bit older by 'bleeding them in', as it is difficult to offer first team opportunity to teenage footballers.

"I think it is difficult because under-18 football to first team level is a very big jump," said Adams. "We have seen that this season and in seasons past. If you look in the Premier League in England, the average age is about 20 to 21 before they make their first team debuts.
"Are we expecting a 17- or 18 year-old to walk in to the first team? It is rarely going to happen. If it does happen then you have got an exceptional product. But what you do want to do is have them in the system and bleed them in over the coming years - that is what we hope to do in the future."