Paul Dickov column: We’re committed to youth development at Doncaster Rovers

Harry Middleton
Harry Middleton
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There is a real buzz about the place right now when it comes to the young players at the club.

Some of our young lads are being talked about beyond this local area but it is pleasing to see the continued development of our group of young lads first hand at the club.

The U18s reached the third round of the FA Youth Cup with a great win against Peterborough.

And the older group have shown a great deal of maturity with their individual involvement in matchday squads for the first team.

The other night I was able to give a few minutes to Billy Whitehouse in the FA Cup at Weston-Super-Mare and the likes of Mitchell Lund and Jack McKay have had time on the pitch this season.

As a club, we’re committed to developing our young players and feeding them into the first team. It’s about a long term look at our future.

Harry Middleton has done very well and he was on the bench for us the other night. He’s the captain of the development squad and he’s training with the senior lads every day.

The unfortunate thing for Harry is that he’s a bit unlucky to have Paul Keegan, Richie Wellens, Dean Furman and Marc De Val in his position and ahead of him.

It means his chances are going to be limited with us but it takes nothing away from the fact he’s a good player with a fantastic future ahead of him so we will keep him involved as much as we can.

It also means that we are actively looking to getting players like Harry out on loan to gain valuable experience.

Alex Peterson is out there now with Scarborough until January but we’re looking to get the likes of Harry, Billy and Lewis Ferguson out there as well to get some senior football in them.

I’ve said it before and I’ll reiterate it – it isn’t about getting rid of players. That isn’t what we’re looking to do.

I went out on loan to Luton and Brighton while I was still at Arsenal when I was 20 or 21 and it was a fantastic experience for me. The benefits of a loan move can be massive.

The lads can see the development of Sam Johnstone since he first joined us on loan from Manchester United in January. It’s done his prospects of making it at Old Trafford no harm at all.

The old saying is that you go out loan as a boy and come back a man and that’s exactly what I want to see with these boys.

Experience is vital to help ensure they succeed once they are introduced to our first team.

And we know there is nothing better than seeing home grown players do well.