Neil Thompson has said that he won’t simply hand out first team opportunities to Sheffield Wednesday’s young players.
The Owls are at a point where they’re looking to get the best out of their players and that could mean freshening up the first team set-up with the addition of new arrivals in the January transfer window.
It could also see some of the club’s talented young players come into the fold as they look to make their breakthrough into senior-level football.
Liam Shaw is one young player who has made that step up, but according to the caretaker boss, he’ll only hand out opportunities to those who deserve it.
Speaking to the Sheffield Star, Thompson said: “It’s not a free ticket.
“They’ve got to earn the right to do it and as I’ve always said to the young players when I’ve worked with them in the under-23s, when they get their chance in the first team in a Championship game, they’ll know what football is all about.”
Asked what Liam Shaw has said about his breakthrough, Thompson added: “He’ll say exactly the same, it’s white hot in there, it’s really quick and you’re playing against experienced players with good experience, good ability. It’s not easy.
“They’re good young players, and we’ve got one or two here that have got that scope, we think.
“But it takes time. If you look at Shawy, it’s been stop-start, he’s been in, he’s been injured, he was sent off, he’s had 45 minutes, 60 minutes.
“But he’s on the first rung of the ladder. Every one of these is a learning curve for them.”
Handing out opportunities to youngsters is all well and good but it has to be in the right circumstances.
Sheffield Wednesday are in the middle of a dogfight and so it’s essential that the players who take to the pitch are ready for the battle that will take place.
Youngsters can provide a special spark in the right circumstances, but Thompson is right not to dish out first team opportunities to anyone and everyone.