- Leicester City's Under-18s are currently eighth in U18 Premier League with 12 points
- We judge ourselves on the development of individuals, says Adam Barradell
- The young Foxes were beaten by Chelsea in their most recent game
- Jayden Joseph scored the only Leicester goal in a 3-1 FA Youth Cup defeat
With Christmas fast approaching, there is a break in fixtures for the Under-18s, who were eliminated from the Youth Cup competition following a 3-1 defeat to Chelsea at LCFC Training Ground.
Conceding in the opening minute created a mountain to climb, but Barradell was proud of how the Foxes reacted and got their way back into the game.
“It’s always a tough draw when you have to play Chelsea,” City's coach stated. “You just need to look at the squad they’ve got and the run they’ve had in the last few years in the Youth Cup, and they caught us off guard at the start.
“They went 1-0 up but I thought we recovered in the game really well. We were assertive and aggressive with our defensive work and kept it close at half-time, and then I thought we came out excellent in the second half.
Jayden Joseph scored for City in the FA Youth Cup.
“We wanted to be calmer on the ball and show more of ourselves in possession, and for 25 minutes we did that, and had a period where we scored and hit the bar.
“We looked good and were executing our game plan but unfortunately, games at this level are decided by moments of real quality or mistakes and unfortunately for us it was a mistake.
“To concede late on when we were pushing to get back in to the game late on was disappointing. I think 3-1 was a harsh scoreline because the boys put in a good account of themselves during the fixture.
“There’s lots of positives to take. Jake Evans started up front from the Under-16s, and we had some great performances in there. I thought Jayden Joseph was excellent and got our goal.
“Ultimately, they’re pressure games and we build up differently for them. As a 17 or 18-year-old, these games are as close as you can get to a first team environment without being with the First Team.
I’d reflect on the first half of the season as a really positive one for development.Adam Barradell
“They’re important games for development, and the boys will learn a lot from them, and to compete as we did against Chelsea, but of course it wasn’t the result that we wanted.”
City sit mid-table in the U18 Premier League South Division, having collected 12 points from their first 10 games of the season, but have not tasted victory since their 5-2 victory against West Bromwich Albion in November.
“I think the league season so far is about missed opportunities,” Barradell continued. “We’ve been in some really good positions recently, leading going into the final minutes and drawing or sometimes losing games.
“So hopefully in the second half of the season we can put things right, because if we did, we’d be a lot higher up in the table than we are currently.
On the touchline in Seagrave.
“But saying that, there’s been a lot of development in the group. We’ve seen the emergence of some Under-16s coming through, and then have passed some through from the Under-18s to the Development Squad.”
The winter break allows Barradell and the other Academy coaching staff to join together and look back on the first half of the season, outlining what they’d like to work on come the New Year.
While results may not look the most positive at the moment, the players' development is most important and with more Under-16s coming through, and 18-year-olds moving into the Under-21s, the Academy production line is still working at full speed.
Barradell added: “It’s a good time to reflect as a team, but also as staff to be able to look at what we need to improve on within the group but also as individuals. We’ll use this time to work with the Under-21s over Christmas and start to integrate the two groups and come together as staff.
“I’d reflect on the first half of the season as a really positive one for development. We’d like to be higher in the league and into the next round of the FA Youth Cup, but ultimately, we’ll judge ourselves on the development of individuals, which we’re pleased with at the moment.”
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