- Leicester City’s Under-18s drew with Tottenham Hotspur on the final day of the Premier League U18 season
- Josh King, Amani Richards and Toby Ononaye scored second half goals for City
- The point sees the Foxes end the season in seventh place
- Leicester were unfortunate to not come away with the win, says Adam Barradell
Last weekend, the points were shared with Spurs after a hectic final day for City’s Under-18s in London. Gabriel Willhoft-King and Tyrese Hall gave the hosts a two-goal advantage heading into the break before Josh King, Amani Richards and Toby Ononaye put the Foxes in front. An injury-time penalty from Oliver Irow confirmed the scoreline.
Talking to LCFC.com about the result, Barradell commended the second-half performance from Leicester, but admits a slow start was their downfall in the fixture.
“It was an interesting last game of the season,” the coach claimed. “We changed our shape in the second half and had a real impact on the game. Toby [Ononaye] came on and had an effect on the match like we wanted him too.
Josh King scored three goals in his last three outings for City's youngsters.
“In the first half, we didn’t pose ourselves well enough, with or without the ball and frankly it was a disappointing performance. Fortunately, the lads could turn that around in the second half and produced some excellent attacking moments and looked stronger in their battles.
“We were more aggressive without the ball and had more of an influence with the ball. We were unfortunate not to come away with three points, after a penalty in the 90th minute, which could’ve gone either way, was given. Overall, it was a good end to the season to go down to the capital to face Tottenham and take a point.”
Throughout the season, multiple Under-18s have progressed through to the Development Squad, including Bobby Amartey and Mirsad Ali, and the coach was pleased to see such a younger, if not inexperienced team, play out the final game at Tottenham Hotspur Training Centre in Enfield.
“It was a very young team,” Barradell continued. “We finished with three Under-16s on the pitch and it showed. We’ve got to build our maturity and resilience in games, but I think that’s an area we’ve progressed on this year.
As coaching staff, I think we can look at this season as a positive year, but we’ll be striving to improve and keep pushing on next year.Adam Barradell LCFC.com
“We’ve seen a young squad throughout the season, which is a positive. But we’ve got to look at how we improve, certainly at how we start games and see them out. This is something that all players in the development phase need to start learning.”
Cementing a seventh-place finish, with a total of 24 points, including seven wins, was something the coach was proud of, but admits that there is room to build to allow for improvement next season.
He added: “The pleasing thing is we’ve been competitive. We’ve not finished as high as we would’ve liked. Last year’s group finished fifth, so there’s always room for development. But in terms of where we’ve finished, I’m pleased with how we’ve competed in the league and transitioned players into the Under-21s squad.
“All in all, we’d like to finish higher because we want both sides of the coin where we get positive scorelines, but also increased player development, and ultimately progression through the pathway. As coaching staff, I think we can look at this season as a positive year, but we’ll be striving to improve and keep pushing on next year.”
Freddie Cook & Amani Richards
Amani Richards (right) scored 12 goals for the Under-18s this season.
Heading into the off-season, Barradell was asked of his plans with the squad, and confirmed that next season’s Under-18s may look similar to one the that finished this campaign, but conversations will be had within the Academy coaching staff to determine each player’s role with the pathway.
“There will be a lot of similar faces in the squad next season,” City's coach explained. “With a lot of individual and group planning happening behind the scenes, in terms of the boys’ pathways.
“We need to determine which boys can make the step up to the Development Squad, and which players will benefit from more time with the Under-18s.
“We’ve got an exciting pre-season planned, which will be great for the lads, so everything is looking positive as we prepare for next season.”
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