Ruth: Pathway to first team a huge incentive

Shannon Ruth on the opportunities being given to Albion’s youngsters.

By Alex Stedman • 20 February 2021

By Paul Hazlewood
Under-23s joint interim coach Shannon Ruth.

Shannon Ruth says first-team boss Graham Potter’s faith in youth should be the perfect incentive for his under-23 players.

Albion have fielded the third youngest squad in the Premier League this season and given debuts to seven players aged under-23.

Ruth, who is joint interim head coach of the under-23s with Andrew Crofts, said, "It all gives a huge amount of belief and motivation to the young players and a real enthusiasm and belief to every member of the academy staff who have worked with those players.

"We will have all sat and watched the 1-0 win at Liverpool earlier this month where a number of members of staff will have worked with the likes of Ben White, Rob Sanchez, Steven Alzate or Aaron Connolly.

"When we all walk through the door every morning into the fantastic facility at the training ground there’s a spring in our steps because we know we can make a difference."

Ruth also says that having a proven route through the academy setup and into the senior environment is a big pulling factor when Albion recruit young talent.

"From a recruitment perspective when we’re trying to bring young academy players it is massive to be able to go through our first team and to show people how many graduates are in there.

"It is clear the pathway is there and if a young player has got to choose between us and somewhere where perhaps that isn’t the case, they’re probably going to choose Brighton.

"It’s probably the most powerful thing you can say to a young academy player: ‘This is why you should be at Brighton’.

"The staff here are excellent at developing young footballers, but there’s also a manager here that will give the opportunity if you are good enough regardless of your age."