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2012-13 preview - Under-18s

Alex Inglethorpe is determined that our latest crop of youngsters in the Academy take inspiration from players who haven taken the same path towards the first team in recent seasons.

The list of first team debutants from the Academy in recent seasons is impressive - Jake Livermore, Tom Carroll, Steven Caulker, Harry Kane, Andros Townsend, Adam Smith, Ryan Fredericks, Dean Parrett, David Button, Cameron Lancaster, Massimo Luongo and Jack Nicholson.

As if proof was needed that the Academy is doing it right, Jake - 38 appearances in all competitons for us last season and Steven - 26 apeparances on loan for Swansea in the Premier League - were called into the senior England squad for the first time for this week's friendly against Italy.

Jake, still only 22, came on in the second half to earn his first cap.

The class of 2012-13 gets underway in the Premier Academy League at Newcastle on Saturday.

"This is my seventh season and I'm convinced that we've got to become even more extreme in our style and intelligence because we are starting to see players coming through now," said coach Alex.

"It's really encouraging when you can show the current crop the likes of Jake Livermore, Steven Caulker, Tom Carroll, Harry Kane and Andros Townsend and that they are following the same methodology those players have all come through.

"We don't want the best Under-18 team. What we want is the best Under-18 potential that is going to turn into Under-19, 20 and 21 potential and then progress to the first team.

"We want the best players on the pitch because if we've got the best players, that means we've got talent coming through. That is what's important.

"What matters is when the players leave the Academy they are technically very strong, they have humility and their attitude and character is very sound. That is what we want.

"There are plenty of examples for them of players who have come through the Academy with those characteristics and made a very good name for themselves."