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Interviews

INTERVIEW: John Dempster Under-18s Season Review

Under 18s manager reviews campaign…

26 May 2022

Under 18s head coach John Dempster reflected on a stellar campaign for the side, after seeing them finish third in league as well as securing a cup final appearance.

The campaign got off to a tricky start with injuries and Covid cases affecting the squad balance, meaning that the Sky Blues Under-16s have had their fair share of game time this season within the 18s side. 

City Academy coach John Dempster began by praising the group of players that rose to the challenge when called upon.

“The Under-16s have stepped up and they’ve been a real credit and that’s why so many of them have been offered scholarships at the football club,” Dempster began.

“There’s been times where we’ve been on unbeaten runs and times where we’ve fielded teams that have had lots of the Under-16s.

“We had Under-16s playing up with the Under-18s and the Under-18s being in and around the Under-23s programme, so it was a real tough start for us, but one that got the ball rolling and threw the players into a challenging environment straight away.”

It has been a marvellous campaign across the board for both the Under-16s and Under-23s also, both reaching cup finals, with the Under-23s crowned victorious after a dramatic 3-2 win versus Bristol City earlier this month.

The Under-18s have not been shy to success, reaching a cup final of their own and finishing third in a hotly contested league that went right down to the wire- the best league finish in six years by an Under-18s side.

Dempster praised the accomplishments of his side and took a look back at some of the highlights from the season.

“It would be the cup run and finishing third in the league which is one of the highest finishes the Under-18s have had in years and seeing players play between the age group," said Dempster.

“The cup run and the experience of playing at the Coventry Building Society Arena for the FA Youth Cup - that was a good one.”

However, ultimately, Dempster pinpointed development as his side’s greatest achievement, commending each player for their dedication across the campaign.

“There’s been many things that the player’s have had to deal with this season, sometimes they’ve been successful and sometimes they’ve failed but that’s a part of our programme and whenever they’ve failed, they’ve always bounced back and showed a good resilience.

“I’m really pleased with how the seasons gone, the players and staff have all developed which is the ultimate goal and that’s on and off the pitch.

“There’s an importance in football of learning from your mistakes, individually, the players have done that and that’s our job to guide them and make them better as professionals.

“Also, the importance of bouncing back after a setback. Disappointments are guaranteed in football, it’s how you react to them, respond, and the level of resilience you show and the players have shown that in abundance at times.”


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