Rovers eye young ones

Pro deal: James Husband with youth team boss Paul Stancliffe and head of youth Paul Wilson.
Pro deal: James Husband with youth team boss Paul Stancliffe and head of youth Paul Wilson.

DEAN Saunders is pledging that promising young players will be given every chance to progress into the Doncaster Rovers first team.

The Rovers manager is paying close attention to the club’s youth set-up - as the signing of James Husband on a pro contract shows.

James Husband in action against Grimsby.

James Husband in action against Grimsby.

He is determined that the club should not miss out on the best local players and is sending out a message that such talent will be given the opportunity to shine.

Left back Husband was given a two-and-a-half year deal though he is only 17.

But Saunders also points out that the road to the top demands hard work and that the fruits of it may not been seen for years.

“I want to get to know all the promising kids on the club’s books,” he says.

“It doesn’t matter if they are only 12 years old and I’m not still here to see them progress to the first team because I’ve moved on or been given the sack.

“I would take great satisfaction in seeing a young player progress from an early age through the system, whether I was here to reap the benefit or not.”

“I hope Jimmy Husband is the first of many youngsters we sign while I’m here, and I want the best young talent in the area to know that they will have every chance if they join us rather than being swallowed up in the system at a bigger club.”

Saunders looks for the right attitude as well as ability in young players and believes that tenacity was key in his own career.

The Welsh ace came through the youth system at Swansea but was given a free transfer five years later: he joined Brighton and went to have a distinguished career, including spells at Liverpool and Aston Villa.

“I’ve always believed in the saying ‘a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay’ and if you’ve got that mentality you won’t go far wrong in football or any walk of life,” he says.

“I got a free transfer early in my career but nothing was going to stop me being a footballer, and sheer effort and hard work got me there.”