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First Team

Bevan delivers FA Youth Cup pep talk


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Owen Bevan says AFC Bournemouth under-18s must “embrace the challenge” when they face Liverpool in the FA Youth Cup.

Alan Connell’s team host the four-time winners in an eagerly-awaited third-round tie at Vitality Stadium on Thursday (2pm kick-off).

Bevan played a starring role and captained the youth team to the fifth round last season, the defender going on to graduate to the first-team squad.

He made his Premier League debut against Liverpool at Anfield in August just days after coming off the bench in the Carabao Cup penalty shootout victory at Norwich.

Currently on loan with National League Yeovil, Bevan was this week presented with his commemorative Premier League matchball by Joe Roach, who headed the academy as he progressed through the ranks at Vitality Stadium.

Previewing the FA Youth Cup, Bevan told afcb.co.uk: “As an under-18, this is the competition you look forward to the most every season.

“You get to play in front of a crowd and you get to play against good opposition. That is certainly the case with Liverpool coming to Vitality Stadium.

“The experiences I had in the FA Youth Cup, both good and bad, were massive and really helped me progress in my career.

“When I was a first year, we were drawn away to Exeter and went into the game expecting to win. Even though we lost 2-0, as a young player, you still take a great deal from an experience like that.

“Last season, we played them again and beat them 2-0. We took what had happened the previous year into the game and used it as motivation.

“We beat QPR in the fourth round and that was a great night under the lights at Vitality Stadium. We lost to Leicester in the fifth round and they were a very good team. We fought to the end and it was another really good experience.

“These games give you a chance to get your name out there because people watch them and I’m sure the first-team coaching staff will be there.

“As a player, you can put yourself in the shop window for a potential loan move or even stepping into the first-team environment.

“It’s a big occasion and one you will always look back on. For the second years, it’s their last opportunity to play in the FA Youth Cup so they need to seize the moment.

“You have to express yourself and really put yourself out there. You have to deal with the pressure and if the boys do that then they will reap their rewards.

“It’s a tough first game but you’ve got to give it your all and embrace it. Liverpool will have some of the best under-18s in the country so it’s a chance to prove yourself against the best in your age group.

“Leading the team out at Vitality Stadium was a real privilege for me last season and one I will always look back on with fond memories.”

Bevan has made 15 appearances for Yeovil since joining them at the end of the summer transfer window, his spell including a change of manager with Chris Hargreaves replaced by Mark Cooper.

He has helped the Glovers climb out of the National League relegation zone, Bevan starring as they kept a hat-trick of clean sheets in their past three games against Notts County, Halifax and Scunthorpe.

Although he was forced off after suffering a head injury in their FA Trophy clash with Dorking Wanderers on Saturday, Bevan is hoping to feature in Yeovil’s festive double-header against Torquay on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

He added: “It’s been brilliant for me and I’ve played pretty much every minute since I’ve been there.

“It was tough getting used to men’s football again to start with because it was different to what I was used to but I’m really enjoying it now and just want to kick on again.

“Lots of teams play long so I’m up against big strikers and a physical battle is just what I need as a centre-back.”

Asked about his Premier League debut, Bevan said: “It was such a surreal moment and one I’ll cherish for my whole life.

“It’s an honour to receive the matchball from Joe. I know he has followed my career very closely and he has played a big part in my progression.

“I’m going to put the matchball on the shelf at home so me and my dad can look at it to remind us of the day. My dad put lots of miles in over the years for me and I know he’ll be very proud.”

Click here for details of how to buy tickets for the FA Youth Cup clash against Liverpool.

Yeovil picture courtesy of YTFC/PPA 

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