Plymouth Argyle plan to develop young talent
PLYMOUTH Argyle chairman James Brent has stressed the importance of developing youngsters at the League Two club.
Brent accepts that some of the teenaged talent coming through the Pilgrims' ranks will move on to 'better' things with clubs higher up the Football League ladder.
But the chairman (above) made it clear he would prefer to rely on home-grown talent than on players coming in from outside.
Developing the club's own first team would also save money, said Brent.
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Bringing talented youngsters through a development scheme removes some of the need of paying transfer fees to bring players into the club.
The Argyle chairman pointed to the club's young player of the year, Luke Young, as a prime example of what can be achieved.
Midfielder Young, who is just 19, did not look out of place against seasoned professionals from League Two as Argyle battled against relegation.
"Luke's a lovely guy," said Brent. "He's got his feet on the ground. I am sure he would like to end up in the Premier League and his career may not be with Argyle.
"But he realises what he can do for the club and what the club can do for him."
Brent added: "I believe we need to develop real talent at the club and if they leave for the Premier League, then that's great.
"What we aspire to do and what we plan to do is to develop talent – our primary function is to generate quality (players) at an affordable price. The strategy is to bring on younger players."
Brent said he was encouraged that five young players elevated to the first team last season were part of the squad who would form the core of next season's campaign.
He said: "We've got the core in place before we start pre-season training and in that respect we are ahead of a lot of other clubs."
As an example of the Pilgrims' ability to turn out talented young players, Argyle's England under-18 striker Matt Lecointe is attracting a lot of attention.
Lecointe, who will be a first-year professional at Home Park after only a year with the club's apprentices, scored on his debut for his country in a friendly against Poland in March.
He made his debut for Argyle, aged 16, as a substitute in a 1-0 Carling Cup first round defeat by Millwall at Home Park last August.
Lecointe ended up playing 22 times for the Pilgrims during 2011/12, including nine starts.
The striker netted twice for the first team.