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Simmonds pleased with Youth Cup progress but insists there is room for improvement

10 November 2023


Simmonds pleased with Youth Cup progress but insists there is room for improvement

10 November 2023

Professional Development Phase Coach Ryan Simmonds was glad his team progressed to the next round of the FA Youth Cup but felt they should have done better on the night.

The Saddlers scored six against a Chasetown side that slowly withered throughout the second half, with their lack of fitness showing.

While it was an emphatic victory, Simmonds insists there is still room for improvement but he was pleased with the outcome.

“I’m happy with the result, I’m happy that we’re through to the next round,” he said.

“I’ve said to the boys in there that the performance isn’t very good. There’s a lot of factors and I call them excuses but because they’re young so you have to sometimes give them a bit of the occasion, they’ve probably never experienced having people shout at them. 

“But I’ve just told them we’re not happy with the performance. I thought as a whole it was quite naive and I think we got lucky if I’m being really honest. But the fact is, we win 6-2, we’re through to the next round.”

Charlie Wragg scored four and his coach was delighted with his performance, also speaking on his best position with the hope that he can break through into the first team. 

“Listen, Charlie, at the start of the season, he couldn’t perform,” he commented. 

“What Charlie’s done; is every day he trains to a level higher than the rest of the team. What happens when you do that consistently day in day out is you get rewards like that and that’s what happens. 

“If you don’t train to your maximum every day, you can’t expect to play well. So, it’s not a fluke, this has been coming for Charlie.

“Before this game he’d scored three goals in the season after a slow start, but this is not a fluke, this is because he trains every day to his maximum and I’m really proud of him.

“I believe if you’re a forward player you have to be able to be able to play a 9, 10, 7 and 11. The reason is we’re trying to get these players to play first team football. 

“If, for example, Mat Sadler or any other manager asks about Charlie Wragg, he’s not just a nine. So, what we’re doing is we’re trying to give him more so then he’s more appealing to a first team manager and he’s more appealing to have a career in the game. 

“I don’t know where his best position is, but he’s a good footballer, so we’ll continue to help him develop and in time he’ll find his natural position.”

With The Saddlers away at Rotherham United on Saturday, Simmonds was hopeful that his squad would play to a higher standard.

“Rotherham’s going to be a tough game, I’ve been watching them all week, they’re a good team,” Simmonds said.

“A quick turnover because on Saturday there’ll be thirty people watching and nobody screaming at them, managing that kind of mental side of the game. 

“I always liked games back-to-back as a player because you’ve got nothing else to think about, you’re just playing the game and that’s ultimately what they want to try and do. So, we move onto Rotherham and we’re hoping for a better performance.”

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