- Leicester City’s Development Squad suffered a 5-0 loss at Chelsea Under-23s
- Saturday’s defeat was their first match of 2022 and included James Justin’s return
- Ben Petty assessed the difficulties the young side faced against strong opposition
- First team debuts on the same day shows the player pathway at the Club, he added
Making several changes to the side as a result of first team call-ups, Leicester matched their hosts at Cobham Training Centre for the first 45 minutes, although they headed into the break with a one-goal deficit courtesy of Jayden Wareham’s finish.
However, the second period was a different story and strikes from Joe Haigh, George McEachran and Benjamin Elliott, as well as a Brad Young own goal, left the scoreline heavily weighted in the Blues’ favour at full-time.
Due to postponements and the Christmas period, the young Foxes had not played a competitive fixture since the beginning of December and, although that was an impressive 3-1 success away at Leeds United, they lost any momentum from that game, Petty believes.
“It was a disappointing performance,” he admitted to LCFC.com. “We’d obviously had a break since the Leeds game and training had been very disjointed because obviously a lot of the lads were with the first team, which is the most important team at the Club.
Welcoming full-back James Justin back onto the pitch for the first time this season.
“For us, it was about trying to put as strong a team out as we could and competing with a very strong Chelsea team, which we did for 45 minutes. But in the second half we tired quite badly, and a couple of late goals flattered the result really.”
Meanwhile, James Justin made his long-awaited return to action after almost a year out, starting the Premier League 2 fixture in west London before being withdrawn at half-time.
Petty continued: “That was a huge positive, as well as the debuts at King Power Stadium. JJ (James Justin) came through 45 minutes unscathed. It was planned that he was only going to play 45 minutes and, in the first half, the game was very even and JJ was integral to how we were playing.
“Obviously we missed him in the second half. We were a very young side in the second half and that told towards at the end when we tired. But as far as the first team are concerned, it was the first step for JJ to return.”
Positives also came in the form of first team debuts for several of the Development Squad, including Lewis Brunt, who started in the Emirates FA Cup Third Round win over Watford, as well as Will Alves and Wanya Marcal-Madivadua, who both came off the bench for their senior bows.
It’s fantastic for the young players knowing that there’s a pathway if they are performing and producing the goods. They know that the manager (Brendan Rodgers) has the trust in them.Ben Petty LCFC.com
Vontae Daley-Campbell and Kasey McAteer were also handed minutes on Filbert Way, which Petty believes can only enhance their development as young players.
“We were obviously disappointed but then buoyed by the fact that there were so many debuts going on at King Power Stadium,” City’s Under-23s coach enthused. “It’s fantastic for the young players knowing that there’s a pathway if they are performing and producing the goods.
“They know that the manager (Brendan Rodgers) has the trust in them. We’re trying to mirror a lot of the things that the first team do for that reason. Hopefully that restores that confidence in them that we are doing things at Under-23 level, we’re trying to teach them the right way.
“And if they do get an opportunity, then the manager will put his trust in them and, on Saturday, the lads repaid that and did the business for him.”
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