Ridiculous lack of games for young Plymouth Argyle players
JOHN SHERIDAN has described as 'ridiculous' the lack of matches for Plymouth Argyle's young professionals to play in this season.
The recently-appointed Pilgrims' boss believes the problem, primarily caused by the club not entering a reserve team league any more, could harm the development of teenage prospects.
There were rare run-outs for defender Jamie Richards, midfielder Jared Sims and striker Matt Lecointe when an Argyle XI beat the Nike Academy 7-0 in a one-sided friendly at Home Park on Wednesday.
It was their first chance to show Sheridan what they were capable of, but came after a long break without any matches for them.
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All three have shown potential, with Lecointe playing once for England under-18s last season, but their progress is now being hampered.
Sheridan told Herald Sport: "I couldn't believe when I was talking to some of the young lads they had only played two or three games.
"I just think it's ridiculous when they are trying to impress and improve. I could see on Wednesday one or two of them have got something about them.
"For them to have played so few games at this stage of the season is not going to do their careers any good."
Sheridan continued: "At any club I have managed, I like young players being involved in and around the first team because it's the only way they are going to learn.
"Hopefully, they pick up good ideas and the older pros whisper in their ear and give them a bit of knowledge.
"I have said to (Argyle academy manager) Kevin Hodges the youth team will be training with the first team some days. I have always done that.
"There is no bigger lift for a young player than to be in and around the first team and they do something good."
Sheridan has sympathised with Argyle striker Warren Feeney over the ankle injury which will sideline him for up to two months.
The 32-year-old hobbled off inside the opening 10 minutes of the 2-1 victory over Morecambe at Home Park last Saturday.
The injury has deprived Feeney of the chance to impress Sheridan.
"It's a big blow for Warren, more than anyone," said the Argyle manager. "He's a bubbly character and someone you want in and around the place.
"I know he would want to try to impress me and help us get away from the bottom of the table.
"The only good thing about it is his injury is not as serious as we first thought, so that's a plus. Hopefully, he will be back before the end of the season."
Meanwhile, Sheridan has admitted there are 'a few clubs' chasing Argyle's highly-rated 17-year-old goalkeeper Christian Walton.
The teenage shot-stopper has spent this week training with Championship side Brighton and Hove Albion.
Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur and Blackburn Rovers are among the clubs who have been watching Walton in action for Argyle's under-18s side this season.
Sheridan said: "That has been going on before I came in. A lot of people are talking about him and there are a few clubs chasing him so he must be a good 'keeper.
"If he's a really good 'keeper we would like to keep him, but I don't think it's my position to say yes or no."
Former Argyle winger Jed Harper-Penman has signed for his hometown club, Barnstaple Town.
The 18-year-old was released by the Pilgrims at the end of December after six months as a professional.
Harper-Penman has scored three goals in the last two games for Barnstaple, who are bottom of the Western League Premier Division.
Argyle will play their Devon St Luke's Challenge Cup quarter-finals away to Witheridge on Tuesday, February 12. Kick-off at Edge Down Park will be 7.30pm.