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Cobblers boss delighted with number of academy products in first team picture

10 December 2020

Northampton Town manager Keith Curle has spoken of his pride at the number of young players coming through the club's academy player pathway and in to the first team.

Shaun McWilliams, Morgan Roberts and Caleb Chukwuemeka all played in the Papa John's Trophy win at Exeter City on Tuesday night, with Max Dyche, Liam Cross and Dylan Berry on the bench.

Scott Pollock is another youngster from the academy and football & education programme who has become a regular in the first team squad, injury permitting, while Ethan Johnston also made his first team debut earlier this season.

"We are very proud of our record developing young players," said the Cobblers boss.

"We are fortunate to have an excellent infrastructure and some really good staff and coaches in the Academy. At under 18 level, Jon Brady is a very good coach and he instils some good discipline in the players.

"We have a player pathway and that is evident by the number of appearances made by academy players over the last few years. We have a trusting relationship with the academy and it shows the pathway is working well.

"We have a welcoming environment in the first team, any young player who comes to join us is made very welcome and made to feel at home. We don't just huddle young players in the corner, they are accepted and welcomed and that is vital to give them the platform to perform.

"All of the young players who have come in to the first team squad have done well and a lot of people, the players themselves, their parents, coaches and academy staff can all take a lot of pride in that.

"As a manager I don’t just pick the team for the first team, it is about having an eye on the culture of the club, the ethos we have and consistent improvement is our aim."

In total, ten current or former academy players have made a combined total of 134 appearances for the first team in two years and two months under the Cobblers boss. For context, less than 40 appearances were made in the same period before his arrival.

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