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Post Port Vale | David Longwell

20 September 2022


Post Port Vale | David Longwell

20 September 2022

David Longwell spoke to the press after tonight's game with Port Vale.

Town's young players got another outing in the first team when they welcomed Darrell Clarke's side to Montgomery Waters Meadow in the Papa John's Trophy.

Nine teenagers took part in tonight's game for Shrewsbury, including academy scholars Declan Hutchings and Josh Bailey who played the full game.

First Team Coach and Academy Director David Longwell discussed the 4-0 defeat but said there were still positives to take.


"It wasn't about the result for us. We've decided to use this competition as a development competition. Maybe not everybody agrees with that but for us as a football club, it was essential to get players back from injury.

"Elliott Bennett was fantastic tonight as everyone could see and he's not played any minutes this season so to get him back in for that but also for the young players. We've put out nine academy players and six of them are still scholars which is a great indication of what we're trying to do in the long term as a football club. 

"Some of those young boys did fantastically well tonight and a lot of their side was what we predicted it was going to be on Saturday. At the end of the game, they had two young boys playing and we had eight or nine that had played which is important for us.

"You've got to remember we've got Tom Bloxham who's still 18. Charlie Caton and Josh Barlow still need the minutes because they're all young players but then to start Declan Hutchings at centre-back and Josh Bailey at left-back - I thought they were outstanding tonight. 

"They're 17-year-old kids playing against men. We don't have a team in between under-18s and first team and that's our decision. It also means that games like tonight are instrumental for their development. And to then put on player after player - some of whom are still only 16 - is great and will hopefully get them closer to the first team.

"The lads are disappointed to have lost the game. Four-nil flatters Port Vale a little bit but we conceded some poor goals. That's a learning curve. More experienced players wouldn't let that happen, but the young lads will learn so much more from that than they will from their under-18s games on a Friday or a Saturday morning.

"From tonight, the young lads have got so much more experience than they would've got from their games and it's great to have some of the senior players back too."


"We wanted to get Elliott Bennett playing for as long as possible. With Elliott, we were just monitoring him as it went along but he was fine and he kept going and he was excellent tonight. 

"He's a fantastic pro and has been ever since he joined this club. I can't compliment him enough on how he goes about his business. He's a great pro who has been very unfortunate with his injury. To play for as long as he did tonight tells you how well he looks after himself."

"They are still only 18, they are still young players - essentially they are in that first year as a pro. Tom has played a bit more, he just wasn't feeling well tonight, unfortunately - that's why he had to come off at half-time. He wasn't feeling well.
"You forget he is only 18 and you forget the other boys are as young as they are. For us to put nine young players out - with some of them scholars and some of the first-year pros is a credit to the football club and a credit to the guys working with them."
"I thought they were outstanding. Declan - when he was at centre-back - I thought he was absolutely brilliant. Josh Bailey played left-back and when you look at the players they played against, to match them and play the way they did - it's great.
"That's the thing with young players, if you put them in they will surprise you. I think the great thing with the manager is that he has given them an opportunity most clubs don't give - particularly when you look at the number of opportunities we give young players. We are all about trying to bring our own players through. Some clubs will say they do that and they might have one or two. But for us to put nine out there and for Declan and Josh, they were playing under-18s at Morecambe on Saturday and now they are playing in the stadium. I can't complement them enough for their attitude.
"They have come up and trained with the first-team and impressed, that is why they have played tonight. And I thought they were outstanding."
"He got knocked out. It was a little bit worrying at the time. He took a knee and you could see he was out cold. We got the medical guys on but because he was knocked out you have got to take him off. You have got to be safe. He is okay now, he is a little bit groggy but he is fine. We wanted to bring him on because he would have given us a bit more pace but he only lasted two or three minutes unfortunately for him. But he will be fine."


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