Payne urges WGC youngsters to have ‘no regrets’ on their ‘special journey’ in the FA Youth Cup
PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 October 2018
Danny Payne wants his Welwyn Garden City U18 side to have no regrets on their “special journey” in the FA Youth Cup – and they responded superbly with a 9-0 demolition over Buckingham Athletic at Herns Lane.
It puts the young Citizens just one round away from the first round proper, with Andover Town the visitors to Herns Lane in the week beginning October 15.
But Payne, the skipper of the club’s first-team, has challenged his boys to carry on with the third round, and the potential of drawing a big club, the aim.
He said: “The best thing about the Youth Cup is you only get one or two shots at it because of the age range and I keep reiterating that to them.
“I don’t want them to have any regrets and to make sure they go on a special journey.
“You don’t know where it can take you. We’ve got one more round before the League One and Two clubs come in and then two more wins and we’re in with the big boys.
“Hopefully we can do it but we’ve just got to worry about ourselves.
“We’ve got good players who hopefully can go on and have good careers.”
The youngsters, who are also part of the Pro Direct Academy based in Enfield, were mightily impressive in their success over Buckingham, playing an exciting brand of quick passing football.
But Payne was quick to point out that his job involves much more than that.
“I think the game is changing now in terms of getting them ready for pro-football,” he said.
“At times tonight we had to go more direct which helps prepare them for non-league. Going into the non-league game as a young player is very hard and these players don’t understand that.
“But they need to be ready to step into that so we’re trying to prepare them for both sides of the game.
“They’ve got to be able to kick and fight and play long and direct and have a scrap as well as showing that they can play their nice football in the right areas.
“We try and embed that in them every day and they’re getting there slowly.”
Some have already progressed with Derby, Wolves and Stevenage taking advantage of the work being done but the short term plan is to get them into Adam Fisher’s Southern League plans.
Payne said: “They’re a great group of boys that work their socks off and they are very humble lads who are all desperate to play football.
“So it’s my job to make sure they do their education first and then the football comes second.
“But we love the football part and hopefully we’ll see some of these boys in the Welwyn first team this year, which is the aim.”
If they do, they will be lining up alongside their boss, something which has already led to a bit of fun.
“It’ll be nice to play with them and see how we go,” said the competitive midfielder with a smile.
“I keep telling them I’m better than them but we’ll see when we play together.”