IN his three-year tenure as manager of Plymouth Argyle, Derek Adams has given first-team debuts to 11 different players from the Home Park Academy.
The Pilgrims fielded a very young side in the 2-0 defeat at Newport County in midweek, our final game in the Checkatrade Trophy for this season, as we were already eliminated after defeats to Swindon and Chelsea Under-21s.
Once apprentices make that step up to the first-team environment, it is the brutal nature of professional football that they must adapt very quickly to the challenge.
“Since I’ve been here, I’ve given 11 apprentices their debuts,” said Derek. “In three years, that is a lot of youth players to get their debut, so the Academy can be very thankful for that.
“They’ve got a first-team manager who is going to give them an opportunity. It depends whether they’re going to be good enough or not. It’s not up to me, it’s up to the players and the coaching staff to improve them.
“The players have to improve to a standard to play on a weekly basis in the first-team. All I can do as a manager is give them the opportunity and they have to take it.”
One of those apprentices involved at Newport was Michael Peck, who recovered impressively from an early yellow card to play with admirable composure.
“There were similarities to Jordan Bentley and his debut against Swansea, when he got sent off,” said Derek. “I didn’t want that situation to happen with Michael and there was a possibility I might have to take him off, if he was going to cause himself another problem by giving a foul away.
“He didn’t do that and showed good composure to come back from that. To play in a game with that attitude has given him good experience.”