Bolton’s Under-23 side gave manager David Lee a happy 51st birthday. The youth side performed brilliantly on Monday as they beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 at the Leyland County Ground.
The victory extends their impressive run of form to five wins in the last six games and leaves Lee’s team sitting just ahead of Leeds’ Under-23s at the top of the Professional Development League, a competition that Bolton won last season.
Surely this fine run of form begs the question, why are the club’s youth players not getting a chance in a first team that is struggling to find even one goal, let alone a win?
Who could Bolton promote from their youth squad?
In recent years, Wanderers’ youth system has revealed some quality talent.
It has produced the likes of Josh Vela, Zach Clough and Rob Holding. But the next generation of youth prospects, like Luca Navarro who scored a brace on Monday, are being ignored in order to prolong the careers of 34 year-old Clayton Donaldson and 36 year-old Lloyd Dyer, as just two examples.
As a result of Phil Parkinson’s recruitment policy, the Wanderers first team has an average age of 28.9, whereas the current league leaders Leeds have an average age of just 24.5 years.
Would it not be more proactive for the club to give talented youth players such as Navarro or Connor Hall – sent on loan to Accrington Stanley – a chance in the first team? That way we can build for the future rather than take on other club’s rejects at the twilight of their careers as a short-term solution.