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24 October 2017

Academy Manager delighted for young players who starred in Tuesday night’s 4-1 win over Middlesbrough U21s.

  • WATCH: Gregor Rioch on Latics’ 4-1 win over Middlesbrough U21s.
  • Rioch pleased for academy graduate who shone on the night.
  • Rioch: “Just the fact they have been given the opportunity by the manager is incredible.”

Wigan Athletic’s Academy Manager Gregor Rioch said the club’s young players who were involved in Tuesday night’s squad for the Checkatrade Trophy win over Middlesbrough grew in confidence as the game wore on to produce excellent displays.

Tylor Golden, Adam Long, Luke Burgess and Victor Maffeo were all academy graduates who started for Latics whilst Mwiya Malumo and Divin Baningime came off the bench – Owen Evans, Joe Downey and Anthony Plant all making the squad too.

And Rioch told iFollow Latics of a special evening for his players:

“[It was] An incredible evening; it was great to see so many of the lads make their full debuts and a couple of lads to come on as substitutes as well and get a real taste of what first team football is all about,” Rioch explained.

“It was great for everyone; not just the lads involved but everyone in the club and the academy.

“I think the confidence built for each of the boys as the game grew on; Victor Maffeo got his goal and grew in confidence, Tylor Golden made an assist at the end of the game and Adam Long was really calm and collected as a 16-year-old.

“They are doing some really good work with Nick Chadwick and the under-18s and the first team are having the under-18s train with them sometimes as well so they are getting a good idea of what the intensity of what first team football is all about.

“Just the fact they have been given the opportunity by the manager is incredible.”

And Rioch added it sends a good message to other young players at the club.

“I think it gives the other boys in the youth team an incentive,” he added. “It can be done and it is an incentive for the younger players in our age groups and their parents and coaches within the academy – it shows it’s possible to do it.”

Rioch also praised Latics’ fans for their back of the young players.

“They were great and for Victor and Adam who came off, they rightly got a nice applause and standing ovation for what were really accomplished full debuts.”

It’s the FA Youth Cup next Tuesday for the under-18s and Rioch says the competition provides more good experience.

“We have had some good fixtures over the last few years in the FA Youth Cup both here at the DW and away from home,” Rioch continued. “We have got Morecambe next Tuesday at the Globe Arena in the First Round and again it is another Stadium experience for these lads, which is all part of their upbringing and development to get into the first team eventually.”

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