Hatters chief determined to give youth a chance

Frankie Musonda
Frankie Musonda

Hatters boss John Still has reiterated his determination to bring the next generation of youth players through at Kenilworth Road.

Still gave Luton U18s duo Frankie Musonda and James Justin their first pro contracts last week, the seventh and eighth players he has signed up from the academy since taking charge in February 2013.

“It would be great to add our own youth players to that group, so they’ve got every opportunity.”

John Still

Luke Trotman, Isaac Galliford, Zane Banton, Craig King, Ian Rees and Charlie Smith have all been made professionals by Still in his time at Kenilworth Road, with only Banton making a league appearance, that for the dying embers of a Conference clash at Woking.

Still said: “It’s a process that you go through, that all clubs go through.

“This is my third year and you can go quite a few years at clubs and you end up with the right group. If you take away what was called the class of 92 (at Manchester United), there aren’t too many others who have broken through there.

“That was an incredible situation to find yourself in with that group, as they weren’t just good players, they were top class players and in a couple of places, world class players.

“It’s not very often you get something like that, and if you can find one or two a year you’ve done well.

“In my time here we’ve made people pros and they haven’t quite got it, but that happens at a lot of clubs.

“I have always wanted young players here, this is the reason we’ve signed Pelly Ruddock, Cameron McGeehan, Dan Potts, Jack Marriott and Elliot Justham.

“I do want young players that can make this their home and take this club forward over a period of time.

“It would be great to add our own youth players to that group, so they’ve got every opportunity.

“There’s always a route to the first team though, and it’s quite plain and quite simple, all you’ve got to do is be good enough.

“I work to the margins of if I’m not quite sure, I take them as I want to give them the opportunity and these lads will get every opportunity to do well.”

Still has been hugely impressed with the current crop of youngsters at Luton this season, with the U18s already into the second round of the FA Youth Cup.

He continued: “This is a good group we’ve got this year so I’m expecting maybe one or two more to push on.

“The first years have been very, very, very good and the second years are also decent.

“That’s why two of them have already been made pros and I think we’ll have a decent crop emerging from the youth team this year which is fantastic.

“The two we’ve signed are the ones who have stood out and it’s probably a bit unfair to name individuals as they’ve all done all right.

“If I had to say one who always seems to do okay, and I’ll say it for a reason, it’s the boy (Alex) Atkinson.

“The reason that I’m going to say that is I didn’t see too much of him when he came in, but he has impressed.”