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Richard Beale: West Brom youngsters have pathway to first team

Albion Under-23s boss Rich Beale believes the club has a host of talented youngsters who can push to be first-team regulars next season.

Richard Beale (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).
Richard Beale (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

The Baggies, who won the Premier League Cup last week, saw a host of academy graduates make their senior debuts last year.

Zac Ashworth, Caleb Taylor and Tom Fellows were just some of the players to make their first-team bow. But it was only Taylor Gardner-Hickman who went to establish himself with the seniors.

Beale, though, is confident more players will follow in Gardner-Hickman’s steps this term.

“I think there are players at this football club who have got a real chance,” Beale said.

“And the best thing about West Bromwich Albion is that there is opportunity here. There is a pathway.

“There aren’t hundreds of thousands of players blocking your route. There isn’t anything blocking your route if you are good enough and the right type.

“We train on a pitch next to the first team. We are in the same building as the first team.

“And opportunity is the biggest reason why some players don’t go on and make it at a club’s first-team.

“Opportunity is here. It’s a fantastic place to be for young footballers. We are really trying to keep and retain those players that have Taylor’s attitude and professionalism. They are the boys we want here and they are the ones that will go on and get into the first-team.

“Those that have good advice realise that and see the route that they have got at this football club.”

Albion have lost a number of talented youngsters to rival academies in recent years.

Beale, though, believes Albion is the right club for players who want to push for the first-team.

“We only want players who are interested in getting into the first team,” he continued.

“If your concern at 17/18 is how much money you are getting then you’re probably not the right sort anyway.

“But if you look at the picture, that you’ve got an opportunity to train with the first team which our players do.

“If you see that opportunity – that you’ve not got six or seven players ahead of you, then it can only motivate you.

“And we have got a lot of highly motivated young players who are competing and who are scrapping to get and get themselves in the manager’s eyeline.

“And the manager has made it very, very clear from what he has said and done, if those players do well enough in those training sessions and games for the under-23s, he will give them an opportunity.

“If they are good enough – 100 per cent he (Bruce) will bring them through.

“He has been excellent since he has been at the football club. It’s been really refreshing to work with him and his staff.”

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