Jason Steele had the best view in the house and liked what he saw from the young defenders in front of him who kept a clean sheet in the Carabao Cup victory over Forest Green Rovers.
Steele was captain for the night behind a central back three of Levi Colwill, 19, Jan Paul van Hecke, 22 and 19-year-old Ed Turns as Albion booked a third round trip to Arsenal after winning 3-0 at the New Lawn on Wednesday.
“I was really impressed with the young lads,” said Steele. “Levi is 19, but he doesn’t play like a 19-year-old. Some of young Ed’s defending and clearances were brilliant. He gives it everything he has and that’s all you can ask.
“I thought he was brilliant and the same with Jan Paul [van Hecke], who plays with a maturity beyond his years. They all applied themselves fantastically. They are calm and comfortable on the ball; I never feel the defending is desperate and that’s the sign of a good player, they stayed calm when it gets a bit lively.”
Albion used eight Academy graduates while 17-year-old Evan Ferguson sealed our progress with the third goal in stoppage time. “Evan deserved a goal, his performance was top,” added Steele. “He kept making good runs and sometimes when you do that nothing happens for you, but he got his rewards in the end.”
Steele had to be on his mettle too, making a couple of crucial blocks in the second half when Forest Green threw on extra attacking players.
“It was a good win first and foremost, we had to dig in a bit in the second half. We ended up with a really young team but they showed fight and application," added Steele.
“We had to suffer a bit but we did it together, and that’s the sort of spirit we have throughout the club, it was a real team effort. It’s probably a bit harsh that we won 3-0, because they had a lot of territory in the second half and are a good side.”