Swindon Town’s youngsters will come up against a familiar face tonight when they face big-spending Manchester City in the 4th Round of the FA Youth Cup.
Left-winger Alex Henshall left the Robins in 2010 to join the North West Club and while Swindon have a good record in producing players, the Club’s Head of Youth Paul Bodin admits it can be frustrating to see players leave the Club at youth level.
“Obviously we would prefer to keep the Alex Henshalls of the world, but they do get their heads turned,” Bodin told the Swindon Advertiser.
“We have also had players go to Liverpool but they don’t always leave and more recently we had a player (Jordan Young) turning down Chelsea.”
“As long as we keep developing players, and they are good prospects, then we cannot do much more than that.”
“It is difficult sometimes when they get their heads turned but when we hold onto them we do show that there is a pathway up the Club and there are a number of players who have gone on to play in the first team.”
Lukas Jutkiewicz is one player to have come through Town’s youth programme before moving up to the Premier League with a £1m move to Everton.
And tonight’s FA Youth Cup clash will give Town fans another chance to see the current crop of exciting youngsters at the Club eager to prove that they too can make the step up.
Prolific striker Miles Storey is likely to lead the line while promising goalkeeper Leigh Bedwell should also play.
Those two have even impressed Swindon boss Paolo Di Canio with Storey involved in the first-team earlier this term.
“Miles is the most consistent performer for me. He had a chance with the first team and I felt he acquitted himself very well, but he has returned to the youth team and I keep working on the areas that need to be worked on,” said Bodin.
“But there many other exciting young players at the Club. Eddie Stevens has come on from last year when he was quite quiet, he has scored a number of goals from midfield, and Harry Grant is always there or thereabouts,” he added.