A Patrick Roberts hat-trick sealed Fulham’s progress into the next round, Josh Onomah and Nathan Oduwa having scored for us in Wednesday night’s 3-2 reverse at Dagenham & Redbridge.
After the game, Academy Manager John was in philosophical mood – claiming he felt we could have done better at both ends of the pitch.
“We spoke before the game about how it was going to be tough,” John reflected. “Fulham are a very good side, I think they’ll be strong contenders to win it (the FA Youth Cup) and credit to them – they had their opportunities and they scored them.
“I think they were a little bit more ruthless in the penalty box than we were. We were quite pleasing on the eye in a lot of things that we did but I thought we should probably have done a little bit better, both scoring and in the goals that we conceded.
“We controlled a lot of the second half but in terms of how we went about our business I thought we were honest, we tried to play in the way that we want to play, but sadly we were maybe just a little bit lightweight in both penalty boxes and it’s something that we’ll be looking to put right against Norwich on Saturday.”
John emphasised the importance of developing players’ abilities at youth level – and he held up Nabil Bentaleb as a shining example of how our youngsters can use Academy matches as a springboard into senior football.
“Last year Nabil played in the FA Youth Cup and he’s playing in the first team this year,” John added. “Obviously you want to win leagues and trophies and cups and tournaments, but ultimately it’s about which of those players tonight is going to actually make that step that Nabil’s made.”