THE message from Gareth Owen is the pathway from the Academy to the first team is clear as the new Academy Director looks to increase the number of young players featuring for the senior side.
Three Academy products were handed full debuts by Nathan Jones during the second half of the 2018/19 season with more knocking on the manager’s door.
Owen believes everything is in place for the players to make that step-up, but the players must prove they have earned the chance to don the famous red and white shirt.
“We’re fortunate here that we have staff at first team level that have an interest and a background in youth development," Owen expressed to stokecityfc.com.
“Rory (Delap) is in the Academy coaches’ office everyday talking about the players who are doing well and even those who aren’t.
“Kevin Russell goes down to the first team management daily to inform them of who has been impressing. The manager has stressed with me that he wants to sit down weekly so he is fully up to speed over what is happening.
“We’ve created this pathway for the players, the rest is up to them. The pathway is open from the Academy to the first team, its then up to the players to perform and earn that chance.
“We’re fortunate that the brand of football the manager had at Luton Town is already in place at the academy. It will need fine-tuning to a certain degree but the general way he wants to play the game have been at the academy for years.”
He concluded: “Every player, no matter the level, wants an opportunity to show what they can do. Every player in the Under-23s has trained with the first team at least once last season so it's down to the players to show what they can do when they get that chance.”