- Leicester City’s Under-18s were victorious in the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday night
- The Foxes defeated Aston Villa 2-0 at Villa Park to knock out the cup holders
- Captain Sammy Braybrooke said it was an honour to lead the team
- He felt City showed their strength at both ends of the pitch to reach round four
Kian Pennant and Chris Popov notched the goals that secured a 2-0 success at Villa Park on a night that will live long in the memory for the Foxes youngsters, who have once again sealed their spot in round four.
Braybrooke, one of the senior players in the squad despite his age, believes that the visitors were able to hit top gear once they became accustomed to the environment and challenges of playing at Villa Park, an experience that will serve them well for the future.
“It’s great,” the 17-year-old told LCFC.com, reacting to the win. “As a team, we feel we’re quite a strong team and just to get the win was the most important thing and I think we did that well.
“Everyone was really great. There were a few nerves at the start, you could tell, but once we settled into the game, got used to the atmosphere and the surroundings, everyone was spot on and did what we did.
Braybrooke has to battle away in the middle of the park against an impressive Villa side.
“We definitely thought we could have been better in that first half; we weren’t at our best. But we showed in the second half that when we are at our best, we score goals, and we cause a threat to the opposition.”
The midfielder took the assist – his fifth of the season – for the second goal, which wrapped up the game in stoppage time, breaking away with the ball from Villa’s corner before picking out Popov, who was able to slot home with goalkeeper Oliver Zych out of his area.
The defensive solidity was another pleasing aspect of the team’s performance, keeping a clean sheet against a side who won the cup last term. Braybrooke revealed it is an area that has required hard work on the training pitch.
“I was thinking about running with it,” he explained, talking through the goal. “Everyone was shouting to kick it away but I saw him (Chris Popov), just found the pass and he had an empty net to go into.
“That’s been great and something that we’ve been working on – not conceding goals and defending crosses. I think it’s shown tonight that it’s working, and everyone should be so proud of themselves.”
It’s an honour to captain the youth team. It’s a big moment in a big cup and hopefully I can captain more games in this cup.Sammy Braybrooke LCFC.com
After featuring in all 13 Premier League 2 fixtures for the Development Squad this term, the England Under-18s international led City’s Under-18s into their first FA Youth Cup game of the campaign.
He described it as a privilege to be a part of and hopes to be able to do the same when facing Crewe Alexandra in the next round of the competition.
The Leicester-born Academy star added: “It’s an honour to captain the youth team. It’s a big moment in a big cup and hopefully I can captain more games in this cup.
“Obviously it’s not an easy opponent, they (Crewe) will pose a different threat, but I think with our quality, we can get through.”
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