Reserves providing a pathway at Exmouth Town
- Credit: Exmouth Town FC
While we all digest the implications of the latest lockdown, the long-term future for Exmouth Town can only benefit from a strong reserve side.
At present, the Exmouth second string are competing well in the Devon Football League and, crucially, it is a team largely comprising players who have graduated from the Town youth system.
It is a pathway that provides first-team manager Kevin Hill with valuable options during the manic schedule of a ‘normal’ season.
“A strong reserve side is very important to Exmouth Town and a lot of them have come through from the Under-18s,” said Hill.
“A large group of them stuck together and entered adult football, with some showing the potential to go further in the game.
“I’ve used quite a few players from the reserves already this season, players like Tom Bray, Morgan Cullen and Tom Preece.
“They have been with me at times this year and that resource of a strong reserve side is crucial.
“We have various age groups at Exmouth Town. Young players are the future of the club but we also know that when players get to the age of 16 or 17, they often make decisions on their football pathway.
“It is a tough scenario for clubs and you need to provide a route for young players. Some will go off to College or University, and some will stop playing regular football.
“It is a big step from junior football to the adult game, both physically and mentally.
“The best players are the ones that want to succeed and those who adapt to the learning curve of a physical game.
“There is an intimidation factor in adult football and players will get kicked up in the air. It is how they react to that challenge.
“Some players will deal with it and others don’t like it.
“I was 15 years-old when I started playing adult football and I loved the challenge, but some just want to stay playing with their mates.
“There is no right or wrong but that step into adult football can be made easier by a reserve team that gives players a chance to adapt.”