Barnsley: Paul Heckingbottom calls on youth to challenge for places

Paul Heckingbottom
Paul Heckingbottom

Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom has dangled the carrot for the new academy boys who were brought to Oakwell in the summer – challenging them to be better than the players already ahead of them.

Two players, Julio Rodriguez and Jake Charles, came to the club on deadline day with lively forward Omari Patrick joining the ranks last month.

Clubs usually give their youngsters a run out in the cup competitions but with the Reds going out of the new EFL Cup at the first hurdle the academy players will find those chances hard to come by this season.

The 39-year-old is adamant he will not just hand out debuts for the sake of it and the players will have to earn them the hard way.

Although, Heckingbottom did single out new boy Patrick as one who has impressed him since coming in.

“There won’t be debuts given just because they’re young boys or have come through our academy,” admitted Heckingbottom.

“They’ll have to be better than what’s in front of them and that’s the message they need to have because they have to be hungry.

“They’ll have to perform well in their games really. It’s all well and good doing well in training but they have to go out there and show it.

“Omari has come in and been really lively.”

“I’m seeing him in the games more than training.

“Training he’s been really lively but in games he’s shown a lot of pace, a willingness to get on the ball and a willingness to work hard.

“He’s just shown the attributes we look for and want to work with.

“Where he ends up, that’s up to him really. He’ll get the support from us and people working with him.”

Heckingbottom pointed towards the appointment of Bobby Hassell as a major factor towards the club signing more quality development players.

He added: “There was a gap there where we let a lot of boys go but Bobby’s come in as the head of recruitment and there’s been a shake up in the academy.

“We identified that group as one that needed bolstering until we can fill it with players coming from beneath.

“That’s why we’ve brought some extra bodies in and hopefully we can get one or two through.”