Academy Manager John Morling says Albion are in a good position if the effects of Covid-19 and Brexit mean there is more emphasis on clubs having to develop their own players.
The financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic are set to have an affect on squad sizes and the transfer market across the world, potentially giving clubs such as Albion with a strong commitment to developing their own players an advantage.
Morling said: “I think for youth development as a whole, opportunities will arise from this [Covid-19] situation no question.
“But I think Brexit will have a bigger impact in terms of being able to sign foreign players.
“Between the two, it will put a reliance on academies produce players for their first teams.
“Anything that is going to increase the number of players’ opportunities to play first-team football we should welcome.”
Head coach Graham Potter has given Academy graduates Steven Alzate and Aaron Connolly opportunities in the Premier League this season while other home-grown players like Ben White have been developing their careers with loan spells in the Championship.
“We’re lucky that we have a philosophy here at the club where Graham and [Technical Director] Dan Ashworth have made a big impact in terms of playing some of the younger players.
“In the summer we have quite a few players coming back from loan spells, like Ben White and Christian Walton, who would all want to have a chance to play in our first team. That’s a great problem to have, but that work is sort of done.
“It’s now about developing the next ones. Who are the next under-16s, 17s, 18s? And then we have to make sure the conveyor belt all the way from under-9s and 10s keeps going.”