Tamworth’s efforts in the Blue Square Premier this season are being boosted by former Apprentices Danny Alcock (Stoke City), Dominic Langdon (Rushden & Diamonds) and WBA pair Seb Lake-Gaskin and Anthony Bruce.
Teenagers Bruce and Gaskin both appeared at LFE’s Midlands Assessment Trials 2009 and their inclusion within the Tamworth squad highlights the Lambs strong focus on youth.
Gaskin made his debut on Tuesday against Chester City and made an instant impact producing a superb performance as the Lambs took all three points from their visit to the Deva Stadium.
Current Tamworth midfielder Bradley Pritchard believes that the Club’s approach to fielding younger players is a refreshing change. Speaking to BBC sport he said:
“I think it highlights something unique about our team that our starting forward line and midfield were all under 24, with two of them being 19.”
“It’s good to see a lot of younger guys being trusted to play in such a competitive league. From my own experiences and those of the other lads, it’s very difficult to find a club or manager who is willing to assess you purely on ability irrespective of your age.”
“But at the moment, with everyone knowing that they can compete for places, it improves the squad no end. Some managers tend to use the excuse of ‘inexperience’ to defend not choosing the younger lads, but this only leads to a vicious circle developing I think. If someone isn’t given a chance to play then where does he gain the experience?”
Meanwhile on a different note Pritchard reveals that the Lambs almost inadvertently adopted Derby County youngster Jermaine Johnson in to the fold during a chance car park meeting.
“While in the car park a lad dressed in Derby County gear came up and introduced himself to us as JJ. Apparently he was just starting a month’s loan from the Rams, so we just assumed the gaffer had brought in someone. He then joined us in the canteen.”
“A bit of small talk and couple of slices of toast later he felt a bit more acquainted with everyone. Even the gaffer came over and introduced himself but he thought it was a friend of one of the players so didn’t question it too much.”
“Then JJ [Jermaine Johnson] got a call, “Yeah I’m here with the guys…”, he paused then realised that he was with the wrong team. He got up quietly, took his bags and left without a word.”
“Apparently he was in fact on loan at Stafford Rangers, and when he saw us he assumed that’s who we were. Whether he just fancied a free meal or didn’t see the large Tamworth Football Club badges on our tracksuits I’m not sure.”