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Academy

ACADEMY: Gary Mills hails learning experiences after tough Sheffield United and Barnsley tests

City's Under-18s side were beaten in back-to-back fixtures against the young Blades and young Tykes...

9 March 2023

Academy

ACADEMY: Gary Mills hails learning experiences after tough Sheffield United and Barnsley tests

City's Under-18s side were beaten in back-to-back fixtures against the young Blades and young Tykes...

9 March 2023

Sky Blues Under-18s coach Gary Mills says his young players will be learning key skills that could help them prepare for long careers in the game after falling to back-to-back defeats against tough opposition.

City have faced tough tests against table-topping sides, Barnsley and Sheffield United, in recent weeks, all while key Under-18s players have been stepping up to instead represent the Club at Under-21s level.

That has allowed Mills to offer City’s most-talented Under-16s stars the chance to test themselves against some of the country's best Under-18s players, tests from which he is adamant they will learn a great deal.

The young Sky Blues fell to two consecutive defeats but battled hard against both the young Blades and the young Tykes, scoring a fine goal against Barnsley through striker Kai Andrews, assisted by Bradley Stretton.

“We started those games really brightly and were really aggressive, on the front foot,” explained Mills.

“They scored a goal against the run to play before we leveled the game after some good play from Bradley Stretton, scored by Kai Andrews.

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“However, we weren’t good enough defending in the key moments. During the final ten minutes against Barnsley, we crumbled and that’s something we need to work on.

“Our group has been really young over the last few weeks with plenty of them stepping up from younger age groups to play for the Under-18s team. We’ve been really young but that’s a positive as it’s been really good for their development.

“However, I do expect that when the young lads step up that they buy into what we’re trying to do and they deliver the standard that we’re going after.

“I’ve been pleased with the majority of them but there are times in which we need to be better.

“It’s really good for their development, playing above their age group. If they can get their mistakes out the way now, it’s good for their learning.

“The results haven’t been great but, as I say, these are all games that the young players will be learning an awful lot from.”

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The Club’s Under-18s stars have also been tasked with enduring a run of consecutive away games, with all but one of their March fixtures set to be played away from the Alan Higgs Centre.

“The traveling has been really tough. We have Hull away next and Bristol City coming up after that,” said Mills.

“It’s a learning experience in itself. If they are going to have careers in the game then they are going to have to learn how to travel and get performances out of themselves.

“That is what the games programme looks to do and it is all really good for them.”


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