Often Partisan

The kids are alright.

“The Kids are alright.” So sang Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue a few years ago – who knew that their prophetic words would apply to Birmingham City? Saturday’s game proved to many cynics (such as myself) that maybe Nathan Redmond is capable of coming on as a sub in a full-on Premier League game, and that Jordon Mutch’s time as a first teamer have arrived.

Many fans of Birmingham City have decried the lack of young players to have come through the ranks recently. There have been a few false starts; Krystian Pearce was highly rated but ultimately never did it and now plays for Notts County in League One; Neil Kilkenny looked to have the chops but he now plys his trade in the Championship. Mat Sadler, who once had a peach of a performance against Manchester United now lines up for Shrewsbury Town, and ol’ concrete legs Marcos Painter is at Brighton and Hove Albion in League One.

Of course with less than ten appearances between them, there is no full indication yet that either Mutch or Redmond will make it. It’s one thing to make a blinding appearance in a cup game; the league is thirty eight matches long and to be a proven Premiership player takes consistency throughout the year. It’s not just about having talent; it’s the drive and the ambition to succeed along with the luck to avoid injuries that can make or break a young pro’s career. From what I’ve seen of young Redmond, he’s certainly got the arrogance on the pitch that makes him out to be an ambitious player, and listening to him off the pitch he seems keen to make a good impression. Like Jordon Mutch, he seems determined to not let the big stage faze him, and to take his chance to push on to bigger and better things.

McLeish has always been cautious about throwing in younger players, and I’m hoping that seeing the success of our two young midfielders will make him think some more about the youth program. I agree it’s not worth throwing in players for the sake of it, but there have been opportunities in the past to blood youngsters that haven’t been taken. I also think we’re too quick to discard those youngsters that might not make it; there seems to be a massive gap between the first team and the youth team right now, and with extra games from European competition next year we’re going to need a decent sized squad. There currently seems to be a massive gap between the established first team pros, and the youth team. Most of the youngsters are under 18, and the only “reserve” types we have (Robin Shroot and Jay O’Shea for two) are both over the age of 21. Also, with the Premier League squad quota rules it makes sense to have a few u21 players around as they don’t count towards the quota – and picked up young enough they will satisfy the requirements for nationally and club trained players UEFA demand for European competition, along with the requirements that the Premier League demands.

I personally thought Mutch did better than Redmond on Saturday; that being said I think another thing that I’ve always maintained was proved at the weekend which is that fans tend to be more forgiving of the youngsters. If they make a couple of good runs, or play some good balls, like Redmond did, then they’ll get to their feet and applaud; they’re less likely to criticise if something goes wrong because they feel that they have to give the kids a chance. Even though we lost to a last minute goal many people walked away from the game happy, because they thought it had been a good attacking performance – playing the youngsters focusses people on the positive aspects of the game.

We’ve a long, long way to go before we can consider ourselves to have a production line of talent – but the message from Saturday was clear; the kids are alright. Let’s hope that Eck gets them involved in and around the team – even if it’s only to sit on the bench at first, and then maybe we too will have a legacy of football talent we can be proud of.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials

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3 Responses to “The kids are alright.”

  • Scoobers says:

    Good comments.

    One question I have is just as some good younger players are actually breaking through why did the club let the man behind it all, Terry Westley, depart ? He produced the goods over time at his previous clubs too …

    Thongs … which away ground has the best crumpets ? …

  • sunnymehta0723 says:

    Sam Oji, Jaques Williams, Tresor Luntala, Andrew Barrowman, Sone Aluko, Tony Capaldi, Craig Fagan, Darren Carter

    List of players that I believed may have made the first team, but it just didn’t happen. It’s always difficult for club through promotions and relegation’s as the standard required is always changing.

  • almajir says:

    Sam Oji – without club due to injury
    Jacques Williams – apparently playing in the United Arab Emirates
    Tresor Luntala – without club
    Andrew Barrowman – Ross County
    Sone Aluko – Aberdeen
    Tony Capaldi – Morecambe
    Craig Fagan – Hull City
    Darren Carter – Preston

    None of them really hit the highs; Fagan had one season in the Prem and Aluko has played a few times in Europe with Aberdeen, but neither have done much special

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