And a flashback two years ago to an assessment of our youth season/prospects
QPR Youth Review of Their Season (Official Site)
YOUTH REVIEW - THE SEASON SO FAR... Posted on: Thu 14 Jan 2010
The first half of the season has certainly been an impressive one for Steve Gallen's Under-18's.
They currently occupy second spot in the South East Conference table, with two games in hand on leaders Southend United.
On top of that, they've reached the next stage of the Youth Alliance Cup and have been handed a plum tie against West Ham United in Round Four of the FA Youth Cup following a fantastic triumph over Academy-outfit Southampton in Round Three.
Needless to say, Gallen is happy with the progress his young charges are making, and believes the spotlight placed on starlet Raheem Sterling has benefited his other players.
"We had a very long pre-season and actually played nine games in total. We got through all of them unbeaten and have pushed on from there.
"There have been a couple of outstanding performances this season. We played Southend in the Youth Alliance Cup and had to win in order to progress from the group stage.
"At half-time we were 3-1 down - and went on to win 5-3! It was a fantastic display, but probably sums us up a little bit. We've been inconsistent.
"Another performance which made me really proud was against Southampton in the FA Youth Cup at Loftus Road. We were underdogs for that game - the Saints have had a fantastic youth set-up for the last five or six years.
"To win that match 3-1 was definitely a highlight for the boys."
Antonio German netted a brace in the match, and Gallen says he has been pleased with the continued development of his young striker.
"I have known Antonio for quite a few years, and it's no surprise for me when I see him bang in the goals.
"At this level he's very good. The most important thing for him is to carry that on into the Reserves - where he is already playing and doing fine - and then start pushing for a First Team spot.
"He's been on the periphery of the First Team for a little while, but he's still only young and is definitely a prospect for the future."
One youngster who has caught the eye this season is Raheem Sterling. The 15-year-old has represented England at Under 16 level, and has already been training with the R's First Team squad. It has led to intense media interest, and Gallen believes that's benefited Sterling's team-mates.
"In some ways it is good for the other young lads because they've gone under the radar and have been able to get on with things," Gallen explained.
"With the interest that Raheem's been getting there comes a bit of extra pressure, and I actually think he's been feeling that.
"There's two or three others who are steadily getting on with their jobs and I have been really pleased with how they've been doing.
"When you get into the national squad all the eyes are on you. When Raheem came on as a sub to make his debut for the England Under 16's and set up both goals against Northern Ireland, I wasn't one bit surprised. I know he's capable of that.
"I know he's excellent - and now all the other Clubs know it as well!"
Looking ahead, Gallen's aims are two-fold - win football matches, and make sure his youngsters develop at a rate he is happy with.
"My title is Youth Development Manager, and that really is how I see my job," he said.
"I am here to try and get boys into the First Team. And I'll tell you something, discipline is a crucial part of their development too. That aspect of their learning is so important to me, it really is.
"We've seen it before - and not necessarily at QPR - where young lads get a bit of 'instant' success, and they can't handle it. They get more money and a bit of fame, and within two or three years they're playing non-league football.
"I desperately don't want that to happen to our boys here at QPR. I am already speaking to them about it. I don't want to see them getting above their station. It just won't happen.
"I've had young players turn up to join, and they think they're this or that. They don't stay too long, that's for sure. We don't want people like that. We want focused winners here."
ACADEMY: “WE’RE GOING TO EXPRESS OURSELVES” - HUGHES Posted on: Wed 18 Jan 2012
DAVID HUGHES believes the Hornets have a great opportunity to progress to the next round of the FA Youth Cup, if the club's youngsters approach the match against Newcastle United in the right frame of mind and express themselves in the correct manner.
Watford's Youth Team Coach admits his side will be underdogs when they visit St James' Park (Sports Direct arena in new money) tomorrow (Thursday) evening, but he feels the 'Orns contain enough talent to pose a threat in the north east.
The task in hand of playing at a top-level stadium is in contrast to the usual Saturday morning league fixture for Hughes' side.
Speaking to watfordfc.com, he said: "We had a meeting yesterday (Tuesday) and tried to get the players' thoughts on the game and playing at St James' Park.
"It's a massive stadium, but it won't be full, there won't be 52,000 people there and it is still a green pitch with white lines around the outside of it," Hughes went on to explain.
"We're not going to approach it any different from a football perspective.
"What will be different is the preparation because we travel up the day before, which is with the intention of giving the lads the opportunity to perform to the best of their ability, and to give them a chance to progress."
Hughes' footballing philosophy is a passing style but he knows that in a one-off cup tie the aim is to always progress to the next round.
He believes the Hornets' style is firmly imprinted in the youngsters' minds.
"We encourage the boys to play the way we feel is right and we go there knowing that if we perform, we give ourselves a great chance.
Members of Watford's Under-18 side
"That's not being disrespectful or arrogant, we've just got some really good players, although I know Newcastle have as well.
"If we perform with the quality and the ability we've got then we can make it a really difficult evening for Newcastle and it gives us an opportunity."
Facing a Premier League side in their own back-yard will be a challenge, but after last year's victory at top-flight Fulham, and one over Liverpool the year before, the Hornets have showed they can be a match for anyone.
Looking at the fixture, Hughes added: "In terms of us [as coaches] and what we expect from the lads, we're preparing with our team in mind, as opposed to the opposition.
"We have to be mindful of what threat Newcastle pose, of course, they're a Premier League club and will be favourites.
"We will be the underdogs and that suits us down to the ground, when I list the players in our group, with some having had first-team experience, they've got nothing to fear.
St James' Park Newcastle United's St James' Park
"We respect Newcastle and know they're a good team, but from our point of view we don't play with any fear, we're going to express ourselves and if we do that we give ourselves a great opportunity.
"As coaches we're trying to make sure the lads are level-headed and don't get carried away."
The Geordies overcame Darlington in the last round, while the winner of tomorrow's clash will take on QPR on home soil.
The Hornets face Newcastle in the Fourth Round at 7pm on Tyneside on Thursday (19 January).
NUFC young gun Dennis Knight strikes wonder goal by Lee Ryder, Evening ChronicleJan 21 2012
IT may have been in front of a crowd of just 889 diehard Newcastle United fans – but for Dennis Knight it was a goal that will live long in the memory.
In fact to those present at St James’ Park on Thursday night, the 17-year-old’s strike wasn’t too dissimilar to that of Hatem Ben Arfa in the FA Cup against Blackburn Rovers.
In the FA Youth Cup tie, Knight pulled off his very own wonder goal by picking up the ball in his own half and driving through the Watford defence before smashing it past the keeper to score the second solo strike in a month at St James’.
With many football observers feeling that raw skill is being coached out of youngsters, this may restore faith to those who feel it is a dying art.
Geordie boy Knight said afterwards: “When I got the ball I was just hoping to leave the person I’d got the ball off behind, then kept going and kept going.
“I was looking for Adam (Campbell) but I couldn’t see the pass so I just kept on going. Then eventually, I just had the shot.
“My dad and my mam and my aunties and uncles were there, so it was good.
“And to score at the stadium was an absolute dream come true.”
Knight’s goal, along with Michael Hoganson’s impressive strike, proved to be enough to see Watford off with a 2-1 win.
The victory for Dave Watson’s Under-18s sees the Magpies into the hat for the fifth round for another home date with Queens Park Rangers next month.
Looking forward to the tie, Knight said: “It’s better to be at home, so now we’ll just do our homework on QPR and try and beat them.”
Watson is hoping for a bumper crowd to roar the young guns into the last eight.
He said: “The more the merrier as far as I’m concerned.”
Report from the official site -http://www.qpr.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10373~2575164,00.html?:
Ten-man QPR Under-18s recorded a major scalp in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup with a 1-0 victory over Everton.
Bruno Andrade's 50th-minute blockbuster brushed aside the current Premier Academy League Champions, meaning the R's will travel to either Newcastle United or Watford in round five of the competition.
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In front watching new QPR boss Mark Hughes, his backroom team and a whole host of First Team members - including skipper Joey Barton and Jamie Mackie - Rangers even had to contend with Frankie Sutherland's dismissal for a challenge on Johan Hammer on 75 minutes.
But Steve Gallen's men showed fantastic grit to hold on for a commendable win - with the impressive Andrade's beautifully-struck shot from fully 35 yards proving decisive.
The visitors were first to go close after just three minutes.
A ball into the box eventually found its way into the path of Anton Forrester on six yards, who - with his back to goal - held off his marker before turning to fire a shot just inches wide of the upright.
But the R's were soon on the attack themselves. Andrade intercepted a loose pass before driving into the Toffees half to unleash a fierce effort from 30 yards that was parried away by the hands of James Fitzgibbon.
Moments later, Hallam Hope picked up possession on the left-hand side of the box before teeing up Conor Grant, whose tame effort forced a comfortable save from Gareth Deane.
Play switched to the other end on six minutes, where Marcel Henry-Francis saw a weak shot from 20 yards held low by Fitzgibbon.
Two minutes later, Deane was called into action again to produce a smart save from Ryan Higgins' driven free-kick from distance.
Everton, it must be said, were on top inside the opening stanza.
Forrester was unlucky not to do better with an effort on 11 mintues, after he spun on 12 yards to fire a shot just wide of the right-hand post.
Despite a flurry of chances in the opening ten minutes, there were no real opportunities to note for a 20-minute spell. That had much to do with the R's growing in confidence as the half progressed.
The next clear-cut chance arrived on 33 minutes, where the Toffees went agonisingly close.
Everton broke at pace and, when Forrester sped away down the left and fired a low centre across goal, Hope's stretching leg was just unable to turn the ball into the net.
The visitors went even closer shortly after. Forrester was again involved, blasting a shot against the foot of the left-hand post after the ball broke loose in the box.
For Rangers, it was Andrade who posed the greatest threat in attack.
He duly went close just two minutes later, turning on Bradley Simmonds' pass before blasting a shot just over the bar on 20 yards.
Unsurprisingly, it was that man Andrade who struck the opening goal for the R's with a sublime effort in the 50th minute.
The 18 year-old picked up possession in his own half before running into space on 35 yards and smashing a low effort into the bottom right-hand corner of the net - that with his weaker left foot.
Everton went mightily close to draw level - again striking the woodwork - on 59 minutes.
The visitors won a free-kick 25 yards from goal and, when Higgins stepped up to fizz a shot on target, Deane pulled of a spectacular save, tipping the ball on to the bar and over.
Rangers were now having to withstand some considerable pressure and were, in truth, hanging on as the second period wore on.
But that's no disgrace, it must be said, against a side who - at youth level - were crowned the best in England last term.
Everton then spurned an excellent chance to level. Tyias Browning's hanging cross was headed down by Grant for Hope, who - albeit on the stretch - smashed a shot into the side-netting from close range at the right-hand post.
At the other end, Andrade was again in on the act, breaking free of his marker after a ball from Jake Downs before his drilled effort forced a fine two-fisted punch away from Fitzgibbon.
Rangers were reduced to ten men with 15 minutes left to play.
Sutherland's strong challenge - that after the whistle had already gone for an earlier foul - saw the Republic of Ireland Under-19 international win the ball but also catch opponent Hammar after, before referee Mr Lymer reached straight for a red card.
Five minutes of time added on saw the Toffees search for a late leveller - but they couldn't find their way past a defiant Rangers rearguard, who held on to book their place in round five.