Cotterill: Young talent can shape our future

Ryan Williams was handed a start against FC Rostov Picture: Barry Zee
Ryan Williams was handed a start against FC Rostov Picture: Barry Zee
Guy Whittingham celebrates his goal against Bristol Rovers during the 1992-93 season MAYOAK0002893915

Quarter of century on from one of the great Pompey sides

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Steve Cotterill believes Pompey have to bite the bullet over youth at present as they continue to look to the future.

The Blues boss has made no secret of the fact he is keen to bring in younger players to develop the squad and included several in the midweek win over FC Rostov.

Marko Futacs and Ryan Williams both started the charity game, while promising teenagers Adam Webster and Jed Wallace appeared as subsitutes.

With a host of senior professionals leaving the club over the summer, Cotterill is keen to see a younger squad emerge.

But he admits young players require time to find their feet.

Cotterill said: ‘The average age of the team has come down from about 32 to about 25 from last season. It’s amazing to knock seven years off.

‘There is a lot of experience in that but we feel as if that is a way we want to try to go.

‘Along the way there is always a sufferance period and maybe that’s it at the moment. Maybe we are trying to get it too young, too quickly but they will be better for it in the long run.

‘We are trying to do that bit by bit and these games will only benefit those guys.

‘They will have gained good experience.’

While senior fringe players were also given a runout in the match with the Rusian outfit, Cotterill was more encouraged by his young guns.

He said: ‘We haven’t got a reserve league and the squad isn’t the biggest, so it’s nice for them to get 90 minutes under their belt, whether that’s the older players or the younger ones breaking through.

‘It’s the younger ones who really enthused me. They are the future and that’s where we want to be.’