Chesterfield youth team boss praises 'joined up' approach at club as youngsters train with first-team

A number of Chesterfield’s youth team players have been training with the first-team squad in the last few weeks.

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 2:53 pm
Academy manager Neil Cluxton.

Academy manager Neil Cluxton gave a special mention to Harrison Beeden, Leigh Whelan, Callum Brook, Louis Czerwak and Kian Tansley who he says have been the ‘standout’ players during recent matches.

And the under-19s could head into the summer on the back of a cup final victory when they take on Borrowash Victoria on Thursday night (7.30pm KO) at Eastwood Town Football Club. Supporters are welcome to attend.

The young Spireites have been taking part in a ‘mini league’ over the past month and they have progressed to the final after winning four of their five games.

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“What I try to do is produce a bunch of players, who when called upon, have the technical ability and mental strength to go and train with the first-team players and contribute to the club’s overall progression,” Cluxton told the DT.

“If we can get one or two of our players to progress into that first-team squad at some point it would be a great achievement for our youth team set-up.

“After every session I have had some really positive feedback from the first-team staff, praising the attitude of the players, fitness levels and technical performance.

“I have set our stronger players a target for trying to make a positive impression where they get invited back to maybe take part in some part of the pre-season with the first-team.”

The success of the first-team this season has been filtering down into the youth team and Cluxton says there is a ‘joined up’ approach at the club.

“It is really giving the youth team a boost, in particular because we have got a number of players supporting the first-team in the training sessions, they are getting to know the lads,” he explained.

“The first-team lads and management staff have been superb with our young players, making them feel part of the group, making them feel part of it, giving them good feedback so it is a really joined up club at the moment which is great for everybody.”

Thursday night’s final is the last game of the summer for the youth team. They will still be around to support the first-team if called upon while they finish off their in-house education.

Cluxton said: “It would be great to finish the season with a win and irrespective of whatever competition it is, it is a competitive game and I think it will be great for our young players to get a victory and it will also be good for the club as a whole.”

It has not been an easy process setting up the new academy structure in the last year during the pandemic but Cluxton is happy with the progress they have made.

He added: “I would like to thank all the players, parents and everybody at the club for supporting the restructure of the academy over the last 12 months.

“We are in a real positive place at the moment, the atmosphere is great, everybody is behind the club.

"We have got some really quality players and some really experienced staff who are providing a great environment where our young players can progress and enjoy their football.”