Walsall Academy boss Miguel Llera has been delighted with the attitude and desire shown from his team as they made it four wins from four with a 3-0 victory away at Tranmere Rovers.
An own-goal and a brace from Jayden Campbell secured a comprehensive victory for the Under 18s.
Llera has been impressed by the level of improvement from a lot of the players from last season but has been particularly impressed with Campbell who has added goals to his game on the back of a pre-season with the first team and the Spaniard was keen to highlight Campbell’s good attitude as key.
“The attitude, commitment and desire are the minimum we expect from a player in this academy,” Llera said.
“Even more, they have the chance to be with the first team and have a pre-season with the first team but at the same time they have the responsibility to be a role model on and off the pitch.
“Joe (Foulkes) and Jayden are doing really well. Jayden has scored four goals in four and is in really good form. He’s a player capable to score goals and he’s doing well. I always expect more from everybody but he’s doing pretty well.
“Last year’s first years were a strong group and this year they are second years and they’ve taken a big step forward. The desire and commitment of them is really high. I’ve seen a big improvement in a lot of them and they make the team very secure, they play without fear and with confidence.”
It was a big day for Under 14s goalkeeper Jenson Kilroy who came off the bench to make his debut for the Under 18s against Tranmere.
Llera stressed that the door is open to players throughout the whole academy to get an opportunity in the Under 18s if they impress and was delighted for Kilroy.
“Jenson is a tall lad and physicality wise he can handle it. He’s doing well and he deserves to be there.
“He’s 13 and made his debut, coming on for 15 minutes. Both under 14 goalkeepers have been doing really well. I think we’re a club that if you deserve it, it has to be a message for all the academy players that the under 18s isn’t far away. If they are working hard and develop like we are expecting from them, the door is open.”
The Under 18s will host Bolton Wanderers in their next league game on Saturday.