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BARBER’S YOUTH GOAL

15 May 2014


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Paul Barber says it is essential that Brighton & Hove Albion continue to develop the best youth talent when the club moves into its state of the art training ground in Lancing next month.

Albion’s chief executive says the club can capitalise on the new facility and are mindful of bringing in a new manager who believes in giving the club's younger players opportunities at senior level. 

He told seagulls.co.uk, “We are spending £30million on what will be one of the best training and academy facilities in the country and the development of young players is not just critical to our future, but to everything we do. 

“We want to attract and retain the best young players in the south of England and perhaps even wider if we can get our category one status. 

“So it is very important the manager we bring in believes in the system, believes in the ability of young players, is brave enough to play young players when the opportunity arrives and has the knowledge and experience to blend those young players with some very experienced pros around.

“Hopefully that can give us what we need to get into at least a play-off spot again, perhaps better still and hopefully take the club to the next level.”

Barber admitted that assembling a squad in the Championship is a different sort of challenge but says the progress of the Seagulls’ current youngsters was one of the highlights of the season.

“The Championship in particular is a strange beast, because most of the clubs are looking at a mixture of experienced core players that have been with the club a while and inevitably some loan signings. 

“You may want to bring in more experienced players that have played at a higher level, and perhaps you cannot afford to offer them long-term deals, so they come in to play for a season at a time.  

“As we have seen this season, some really good youngsters can also come through the system and when they have had their opportunity they have grabbed it.

"This season, with the number of injuries we had early on, the big plus point is you saw players like Solly March, Jake Forster-Caskey, Rohan Ince and Lewis Dunk, who came through the system and grabbed their chances. And Jake and Solly have received further recognition with their international call ups. 

“I don’t think anyone can look through the season and say that wasn’t a big plus point for the club and for the young players themselves. And it is testament to the excellent youth and academy structure which has been developed in recent seasons by David Burke and his team.

"The academy set up which is in place has already proved very successful and it will continue to flourish as we move to the new facility at Lancing. All of us at the club are extremely proud of what's been achieved here and of our young players."

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