New Welwyn U23 boss happy to watch his young side grow after unbeaten start to year

PUBLISHED: 13:03 10 September 2020 | UPDATED: 13:03 10 September 2020

Danny Milliken and Richard James, the joint managers of Welwyn Garden City's new U23 development squad. Picture: WGC FC

Danny Milliken and Richard James, the joint managers of Welwyn Garden City's new U23 development squad. Picture: WGC FC


Richard James is looking forward to the “great sense of achievement” of helping young footballers reach their potential with Welwyn Garden City’s new U23 side.

The City youngsters kicked off their first season in the Herts Senior County League Premier Division on Saturday and James, who along with Danny Milliken has been put in charge of the squad, says the campaign is all about looking to the future and developing the club’s own players.

He said: “They want me to feed them through to the first-team, that’s the remit I’ve got.

“But this is what I enjoy the most if I’m honest. I had a spell as first-team manager at Langford and I didn’t enjoy my time.

“I enjoy watching young players develop and work their way into senior football. It’s a great sense of achievement, it really is.

“I keep saying to people the Herts Senior League is a tough standard.

“It’s getting the balance between developing and staying competitive at the same time.

“We’ve got a lot of good youngsters in, some of them I brought over with me from Hoddesdon.

“Some of them have found their way into the first-team already but it’s been positive.”

The start to the season has been positive too.

An opening day 0-0 draw with neighbours Hatfield Town was followed by a fantastic 1-0 win at home to Sandridge Rovers, who were second last year behind Letchworth when the competition was declared null and void.

Harrison Cage got the side’s historic first goal, watched by a crowd of almost 100, with a well-taken free-kick 10 minutes from time and came despite Welwyn being reduced to 10 men minutes earlier with the sending off of Lewis Matthews.

The win puts them fourth in the fledgling table and first-team manager Nick Ironton said he is pleased with what he has seen and heard.

“The feedback has been very good and they have done very well,” he said.

“There are some good young promising players coming through and as a club we need to get some of them into the first-team squad because we haven’t got the funds to go out and buy some of the better players that are around

“But there are some good youngsters in there and they will do well as the season progresses.”

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