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Interviews

Post Walsall | Matt Taylor

14 November 2023

Interviews

Post Walsall | Matt Taylor

14 November 2023

Boss Matt Taylor chatted to the media following our 3-2 win over Walsall in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy.

On what was a proud night for our academy, 16-year-old Simba Nyamwanza became the youngster player in the club's history when he was introduced from the bench.

Jude Collins, Nana Owusu, Declan Hutchings, Harvey Watts and Jack Loughran - who are all under-18s - also played and impressed, with Loughran grabbing an excellent assist just moments after his introduction.

On the night, goals from Dan Udoh and Ryan Bowman, as well as an outstanding free-kick from Mal Benning won the game for Town.

And when speaking to the assembled media, boss Taylor admitted he was full of pride with how his young team performed.

On the game: 

“The result was obviously of paramount importance. 

“Even though neither of us could – statistically - qualify for the next round it was important we put in a good performance and got a positive result. 

“Apart from the obvious error we make to go 1-0 down – those errors have cost us in the last two games. 

“But I’m really pleased with the reaction of the players. Udoh scores a brilliant goal, Mal Benning with some unbelievable technique and then Ryan Bowman gets the third. 

“At that point, we are in complete control of the game.  

“Because of our fixture list, because of where our players are at physically, it was a case of making sure we utilised all of the players. 

“And when I look at the squad today, there are six academy players in there. One of those is an under-16 (Simba Nyamwanza) who came on for his debut. 

“I think he is the youngest ever player in the history of the football club which is amazing. 

“It’s brilliant for him and it shows the future that hopefully Simba can have here. 

“And also the other young players – I'm really pleased with their performance tonight.  

“One of the big things Micky (director of football Micky Moore) and I spoke about before I got the job was how do we better align with the academy as a football because it’s so important to us. 

“And you see tonight with the performances the players put in that we are making strides forward so I’m really pleased with that. 

“I think it’s vitally important for clubs like Shrewsbury to bring our own players through. 

“That is what we are doing and that is a testament to all the academy staff. 

“In terms of the resilience of the group that finished on the pitch tonight – I'm really pleased.  

“That will hopefully give the academy players lower down and who weren’t involved tonight the belief that there is most definitely a pathway at this football club for them. 

“I’m exceptionally happy with them. 

“The seniors tonight, their roles and responsibilities were to help, to lead. We have got really good seniors here and they did that. 

“All in all I’m extremely pleased we have managed to win the game 3-2 

“I think in our last four games at home we’ve now scored nine goals. That is brilliant but we’ve got to stop making those silly errors and giving away early goals.”

On Harry Burgyone saving a penalty: 

“H has been working really hard – I've just singled him out in there; it was a great save for him because it’s very difficult being a goalkeeper. 

“He can only play one position. Aaron Pierre is getting closer to fitness now. He was really good at dealing with the aerial threat that came into the box. 

“I think that’s Elliot Thorpe’s first competitive 90 minutes. We are starting to get players back in and around the squad. Competition is starting to grow. 

“From my perspective, we are in a good spot at the moment in regards to Saturday. 

“The players that needed to train today trained. So we’ve had a double day if you like for the staff. That’s been really good. 

“We have got a lot of positive work done with the players who weren’t involved today. 

“I’m really happy standing here right now because we’ve won a game of football.  

“And it’s been possible today to expose youth team players and an under-16 player to what men’s first-team competitive football looks like against an experienced Walsall team.” 

On the youngsters and Jack Loughran getting an assist:

"It was really good for Jack.

"I’ve watched a lot and Micky has watched a lot of under-18s football this year, there hasn’t been a home game that I haven’t been to and there hasn't been one that Micky hasn't been to.

"We’ve watched near enough two-thirds of their games, so we’ve got an idea of the academy in terms of the under-18s. 

“Simba has been up and trained with us, with the first team, so it’s not the first time seeing him.

"He’s been up for a few days and trained with us over school holidays and so on. 

"I'm really pleased he’s made his debut. It’ll be good for Jack, I think we saw today that he’s a player who gives everything, he’s wholehearted and that in itself is really important.  

“I hope that the message and the key learning for our young players is just how important it is to run.

"I know that sounds simple but talent only gets you a chair, it doesn’t keep you there and that’s what we’re trying to go down.  

“Look I’m sure those players will play a big part in the future of this football club and I’m glad that we can in some way showcase that to the supporters that were here tonight.”  

On Dan Udoh and Ryan Bowman scoring: 

"I think you have to make a lot of it and I understand that but sometimes the noise can cause more pressure. 

"Hopefully what that does tonight is in terms of Ryan scoring another goal and Dan scoring a really, really, good goal - that has the opportunity tonight to relieve a bit of pressure.

"We go into Saturday we know how we look, we’ve got two fit strikers, first-team strikers at the football club and both of those have scored tonight so that’s brilliant news for me.”  

On Mal Benning's free-kick:

"I just stood there and applauded, it was a wonderful free-kick, I was right behind it.  

“That’s the ability Mal has, it’s now the case we need to see that more often because competition in that part of the pitch is really tough with Jordan Shipley coming back.

"Mal has got great experience, he’s got a lovely left foot. And the challenge for him now and the challenge for all the players is to perform with a real consistency.”

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