Skip to main content

Under-21s: Purches excited to see the fruits of Cherries production line

Posted: Thu 25 Feb 2016

AFC Bournemouth under-21s fell to a narrow 3-2 defeat away to Cambridge in their latest Development League South outing.

But, despite the result, manager Stephen Purches believes there were positives to take from the game, most notably the inclusion of a number of junior players. 

"That’s what our squad and these games are about," Purches said.

"Carl [Fletcher] gets our philosophy into the players with the youth team and then we continue it with the under-21s. That’s the production line that you want to see, young players making the most of their chance to come up earlier and get involved.

"You look at our senior players in the Cambridge game: Jake McCarthy, Jack Simpson, Jon Muleba. Those are the senior ones that are now going to help the new breed to understand what is expected at this level.

"It’s important for the players who have been around a while to do that and to help the new boys come in and produce the kind of performance like we did against Cambridge, albeit the result wasn’t what we wanted."

Two young players who caught the eye were goalscorers Keelan O’Connell and Sam Surridge, both of whom have enjoyed successful seasons in around the under-21s set up.

Purches was quick to praise the pair, whilst also reinforcing the need for all young players to make the most of playing alongside more senior pros.

"Sam has had a decent season himself," he continued.

"He has scored a few goals for the youth team and now it’s a case of getting that consistency. He works very hard and I am sure that will come as he gets older.

"He’s had an experience of men’s football already at Weymouth, so to get him in and around it nice and early will have been great for his progression.

"Again, Keelan has been involved in a lot of our games this season. At 17 he is still learning the game but he is getting exposure to playing with some very experienced players, which he is only going to learn from.

"I remember when I used to play in the reserves myself. Being able to learn from those senior pros – it’s priceless. They’ve got the knowledge and you need to listen and learn. Hopefully then you can take it on to use in the game.”