Saunders: Youth development is a priority

Doncaster Rovers manager Dean Saunders coaches youngsters at the club's centre of excellence. Picture: Liz Mockler D1079LM
Doncaster Rovers manager Dean Saunders coaches youngsters at the club's centre of excellence. Picture: Liz Mockler D1079LM
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DONCASTER boss Dean Saunders wants to give youth its chance - and he wants the club’s junior set-up to be the envy of Rovers’ rivals.

Saunders has notably gone with tried and tested players in his first three games in charge at the Keepmoat Stadium.

But he made time to run the rule over some of the schoolboys on the club’s centre of excellence books at a specially arranged coaching session last night.

And the former Wrexham boss says that developing young players is at the forefront of his thoughts.

Saunders said: “The youth set up at the club is something that is very close to my heart and something that I want to be closely involved with.

“I want young players to progress through the youth team into the reserves and then move up to the first team.

“I’ll be showing as much interest in them as the first team players and I want them to know that, if they are good enough, they will get a chance to prove it while I am here.”

Saunders was accompanied by club captain George Friend, new signings Herita Ilunga and Pascal Chimbonda, and Kyle Bennett and Simon Gillett.

He worked particularly with the Under 13s and said later: “I was impressed. We’ve got some really good lads there.

“Obviously you expect them to be good technically to have got this far but what marks them out after that for me is how hard they are prepared to work and how much desire they have to succeed.

“You can have the most technically gifted players in the world but if they don’t have the other qualities they won’t get very far.”

Saunders added: “I really enjoy working with the youngsters and I want the youth set up here, and the players we develop, to be the envy of every club around us.”