Gaffer gives his thoughts on the five deals offeredShrewsbury Town Boss Paul Hurst was pleased to be able to offer five professional deals to Town’s second year scholars yesterday.
Ryan Sears, Callum Roberts, Chris Gallagher, George Hughes and John McAtee were all offered deals after impressing in the Under-18s.
Paul has watched their development closely over the last few months and believes they all deserve a chance at Shrewsbury Town.
“I feel that all five have got something to offer”, Paul told ShrewsWeb.
“I will be quick to stress that I don’t expect any of those five to be in the first team next year, but the challenge is there for them to prove me wrong and get into the first team.
“In Callum Roberts there is a lad there that probably had a better first year than second in terms of the injuries he sustained, but he had already been in and around the first team.
“Ryan Sears has been involved on the bench for me and he’s trained with us, and those two are probably the two that on a physical side are the most ready.
“George Hughes captained the side and he’s got a very mature head on his young shoulders. He plays the game well, reads it well. I think he was the most surprised when he was told and now it’s about him believing in himself and giving himself the best chance.
“I don’t think I’ve seen the best of Cricky (Chris Gallagher) yet, but already him and George complement each other well in midfield. They are good footballers, know the game well and that’s credit to themselves and credit to the youth team staff that have obviously helped them in terms of understanding their position.
“And lastly you’ve got John McAtee, who is a very talented boy. I think he’s had one or two slight issues along the way and he’s a player that interests me in that he gets down on himself and frustrated, but hopefully from working with him we can try and iron that side out, because ultimately he’s got a lot of ability.
“He’s the one that when I’ve been to games, even when he hasn’t had his best game, he’s had a moment every game where you look at him and think that was good and ultimately those players are hard to find.”
Paul was quick to point out that lads still have a long way to go and he believes that next season will be about development.
“I’m looking forward to working with them all and I think they’ve all got the correct attitude to come into the first team environment”, continued Paul.
“They will be pleased now, but come preseason they’ve got to realise that it will be the hardest season they will ever have in football.
“Apart from giving older pros respect, they’ve got to understand that they are on an even playing field in my eyes and if I feel that any of those are playing better and should be in the team then that’s what will happen.
“Realistically it’s about development and if I see improvement on the way then you never know, but if there’s anyone out there thinking ‘we’ve signed five and does this mean we are going to have five youth team players in the matchday squad?’, then far from it, but I think we’d be foolish not to give these young lads a chance because at their current level they have done enough to impress me.”