Sweet wants Still to smooth kids’ progression into the first team

Hitchin Town v Luton Town. wk 29.Hitchin Town v Luton Town. wk 29.
Hitchin Town v Luton Town. wk 29.
Luton managing director Gary Sweet wants new boss John Still to help smooth the progression of youngsters into Town’s first team as well as delivering success on the field.

Speaking at Still’s unveiling, he said: “The picture of youth football is changing big time in England because of the Premier League’s EPPP programme, which we would like to be a part of.

“We are a part of it as are Dagenham. But how players turn from a young teenage hopeful into a professional players is down to John to create a structure whereby they can thrive within our framework.

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“We want the best players coming in at 16, 17, 18, 19 whatever, making their debut for Luton Town regardless of where they come from because we want the best football team.

“That’s been a part of the brief but at the same the question has always been does that include having a youth structure and every decent football manager will say yes it does.

“So I think it’s a delicate blend of being selective about how you run your youth academy versus what players you bring in and at what stage.”

And Still called on Luton’s supporters to get behind any of Town’s young stars who are given an opportunity.

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He added: “Supporters perhaps have to recognise these are some young players here, they need our help. If they’re going to get better they need our help. That’s the part of the team ethic.

“But also the players by giving them the right work, by giving them the right information, by giving them the right coaching to understand that the expectation has to be reached.

“They’re young men that have to group up quickly because that’s what it is.

“We all know that you can have a person that’s played 250 league games and still a boy. You can have someone that’s played 20 league games and he’s a man.

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“It’s like your own kids. Age sometimes doesn’t come into it, you can still be a kid at 22. You can be a man at 18.

“Part of what we do is to try and find that in people because it’s a really important ingredient.

“Will we go up in my time here, if I get the time yeah we’ll go up.

“We might be 18 months up the road and it ain’t quite right, but in 20 months it might be right. It will get right if everyone stays with it and supports it 100 per cent, because I know it can work, because it’s worked before.

“I am a big team ethic person and when I say team that’s everyone, supporters, directors, kit man, tea man. It’s a team effort.”