Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Interviews

REACTION | Declan Flanagan: "They gave a good impression of what they can do at the highest level"

13 January 2021

Academy coach Declan Flanagan praised the efforts of his side after they put in a courageous performance in their 6-2 FA Youth Cup defeat against Tottenham Hotspur.

The Exiles found themselves two goals ahead in the first half after Lewys Twamley and Sonny Lewis put County in a strong position to reach the fourth round of the competition at Hotspur Way.

But Dane Scarlett grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and bagged five goals, while Roshaun Mathurin chipped in with another to send the Premier League side's young guns through to the next round.

It was a difficult result to take for the young Exiles, but Flanagan says he's proud of their individual performances.

"The majority of the lads made their stamp on the game," Flanagan said.

"Lewys Tramley with the individual goal in the first half, Sonny Lewis with his runs forward and combination plays, Ryan Hillier with his hold-up play and the back five were superb.

"I had full belief in the lads that they would come and provide a close game for large parts.

"We had to ride our luck at times but in the first half, we were the better side. We played on the counter-attack and to our strengths, so it's credit to them.

"They will know that they came here today and gave a good impression of what they can do at the highest level."

The upwards trajectory of County's academy in recent years has seen the under-18s side reach the third round of the competition in the last two campaigns.

And Flanagan says his players will learn a lot from the environment that they found themselves in on Tuesday afternoon.

"We have come a long, long way in the last two years as a club and an academy," Flanagan added.

"We are going to keep striving and today is a mark of that.

"The lads put in a fantastic performance and it almost looked at one point like we were going to go on and win it.

"It's a shame that as soon as the lads got tired, spaces opened and players with quality can hurt you.

"But it's an unbelievable experience and it’s something they have earned. They have worked so hard as individuals off and on the pitch."


Advertisement block