Beard sets new targets for his under-18s

'To be successful you can't rest on your laurels,' says head coach.

By Bruce Talbot • 30 June 2021

By Paul Hazlewood
Mark Beard will be demanding more of his under-18s this season.

Coach Mark Beard says his under-18s have to set their targets even higher after enjoying an excellent season.

Albion finished third in Premier League South, were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup by eventual winners Aston Villa and won the Under-17s Cup with a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough at the Riverside.

But as the youngsters return to the American Express Elite Performance Centre to start their pre-season preparations this week, Beard will be raising the bar even higher while remembering the bigger picture is to prepare his players for first-team football. 

“You can’t rest on your laurels, for us to be successful we have to set even higher targets,” said Beard.


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Beard's U18 season review

“We finished third in the league so now can we finish first or second? Can we retain the Cup, can we go further than the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup? I have no doubt we can do that with the group of players we’ve got.

“But my job and the aim of the players is to get them in the under-23s and beyond that knocking on Graham Potter’s door and being in and around the first team squad.

“Last season for two or three games we had four or five players missing because they were with the 23s. I’ve no doubt with my strongest team I could have got results and maybe won the league but that’s not my job.

“It’s nice to win games with the under-18s but my role is to help develop players for our first team. But when they are in the 18s we need to keep improving and raising our standards year on year.”