- Leicester City’s Under-18s defeated Newcastle United 3-1 in the PL U18 Cup
- The young Foxes face Southampton in their second group game on Friday
- Coach Adam Barradell is pleased with the recent form shown by the group
- He hopes they can continue producing similar performances and results
Following back-to-back Premier League U18 South victories, the young Foxes kicked off their cup campaign with a 3-1 triumph over Newcastle United last week to put three points on the board in Group A.
Goals from Abdullah Javid, Brandon Cover and Jack Butterfill ensured a winning start to the competition at LCFC Training Ground, with the Saints, who Leicester defeated 3-0 on their travels in the league programme, up next at Staplewood Training Ground on Friday (1:30pm BST kick-off).
With continued development the priority, Barradell still sees areas of improvement to come from the young squad, who have conceded just one goal in their last three fixtures across all formats.
“It was an excellent start in the cup competition from the boys,” he told LCFC.com. "Newcastle made it difficult for us. They came and sat in and dropped off, so the lads had to find a solution with the way we played.
Brandon Cover was one of three Foxes on the scoresheet in last Friday's cup victory over Newcastle United.
“We had to find a way to break them down and it was a case of not getting frustrated in the first half. Fortunately, in the second half, we managed to come up with a few solutions that opened Newcastle up a little bit more.
“We managed to get goals in the second half. It was disappointing to concede as we’d kept a couple of clean sheets in the last few weeks, but hopefully we can put that right on Friday against Southampton and earn another clean sheet.
“It’s not often you have two cup games in a row, so hopefully we can carry on the momentum from the game against Newcastle last week.
“We played Southampton in the league a couple of weeks ago, so it’ll be a case of learning from that game, taking the positives and hopefully putting on a good performance individually, and as a team, to try and get that second win in the cup.”
The young Foxes have been without the likes of top scorer Kian Pennant, who has four goals so far this term, due to his involvement with England Under-18s - a squad also including Under-23s midfielder Sammy Braybrooke. Barradell believes this has allowed other members of the squad to step up into new roles.
It’s all credit to the people working in the Academy. We have some excellent staff and there’s some real fantastic work that is going on here.Adam Barradell LCFC.com
“With the international call-ups that we’ve had, some of the players that perhaps haven’t had as many minutes as they’d like have got the opportunity to play,” the coach explained. “To have those boys come out with good performances and get on the scoresheet was really pleasing.
“It’s great development for the boys going out on international duty, it just shows the real good work that has gone in earlier on in their pathway and the Academy is getting the recognition it deserves.
“At the moment, we’re just seeing the benefits of the good work that the people at the Academy have done. I’m in a fortunate position when the boys get called up to the Under-18s squads that I’m the coach working with them at that point in time.
“But it’s all credit to the people working in the Academy. We have some excellent staff and there’s some real fantastic work that is going on here.”
Leicester City Under-18s
The young Foxes have enjoyed an encouraging start to the season.
Despite those three straight victories and City’s position of fifth in the league standings, Barradell knows that the players must stay grounded, continue to work hard and look at the bigger picture.
He added: “What I’ve said to the boys is that it’s about the process of development and their long-term development. They are getting their rewards at the moment with performances and results, but it’s the work that is going in on a daily basis.
“The lads are really taking the information on board that we’re trying to give them. They are showing the courage and mentality to try and play in a way that the Under-23s and first team are.
“There’s a real good synergy between the age groups at the moment here at the Football Club. There’s also a real competitive edge in the squad and the lads that are starting want to keep their shirt and the lads that are coming on, they want to earn that shirt.
“Training every day is really competitive at the moment, so it bodes well for the players’ development.”
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