Port Vale manager Andy Crosby was a happy man when reflecting on his sides’ EFL Trophy triumph last Tuesday in which four current apprentices were on show for the first team.
Crosby made nine changes to his starting eleven for the clash with Crewe Alexandra, opting for a blend of experience and youth.
His wholesale changes proved successful, with Port Vale running out 1-0 winners on the night.
Jack Shorrock (1st year apprentice) and Rhys Walters (2nd year) played the full 90 minutes, whilst Liam Brazier and Bailey Dipepa (1st years) made their debuts, coming on as second half substitutes.
Reflecting on an important night for the Academy, Andy Crosby said: “For the football club to finish off with four academy players on the pitch at the end and James Plant ‘the king of the academy!’ who just keeps going and going is really good. We finished off the game with all outfield players 23 and under, so it’s really good for the long-term future of the football club and I’ve got to give credit to the academy and all of the coaches.
“I went up to Keele last night to watch the U9s all up until the U16s and saw the great work that coaches are doing at all different levels of the football club, so well done to them.”