St Albans youngsters to continue going out on loan to aid development

Gerado Smaldone

Gerado Smaldone - Credit: Archant

St Albans City’s director of football Adam Lee says they will continue to loan their good young players out – after being pleased with the development of the squad in the second half of last season.

Oran Swales is brought down against Whitehawk. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

Oran Swales is brought down against Whitehawk. Picture: LEIGH PAGE - Credit: Archant

The club took the decision to withdraw the development squad from league football in January after finding the standard not at the level they hoped for.

Players such as Oran Swales, Gerardo Smaldone and Callum Ferguson were sent out on loan to the likes of Kings Langley and Cockfosters.

And that proved to be far more beneficial for the players themselves.

Lee said: “They’re not going to be a side this year.

“The situation with the boys is there are six or seven currently training with the first-team squad.

“They’ll get a little taste on the bench hopefully on Saturday [against Stevenage] and in the next 10 days to two weeks we will look at where is best for their development.

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“Obviously we’ll want to get them as high as they can but at a level where they are going to play. There’s no point sending them somewhere just to sit on the bench.

“It’s about going off and getting men’s football and getting more of a benefit.”

Lee used his own son Callum, who moved to Cockfosters, as an example of the positive effect of the loans.

“The 22 games he got at Cockfosters was a massive benefit,” he said.

“We’re trying to push the likes of him and Nathan McGreevy through but you have to be careful.

“You forget that they are 17 and there are not too many 17-year-olds that make it in the National Leagues.

“The jump is a big one and that’s the learning curve.

“Some players in academies are wrapped up and protected but the reality is you have got to cut it in another way.”

Sam Mardle will continue with the U18s on Sunday mornings ahead of a crack at the FA Youth Cup with Lee admitting with the addition of possibly two more, they could be “quite set-up”.