Under 23s

Hesketh wants more self-belief from under-21s

4 min read

Owen Hesketh believes Wolves’ youngsters should back themselves more and play their own game in the Papa John’s Trophy, despite stern opposition.

With Wolves’ under-21s leading at Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday night, both Hesketh and James Collins were disappointed by how the home side were allowed back into the game, using their experience and physical advantage. It was the former Manchester City man who’d given his side the lead in the opening period, and later his the crossbar at 2-1 down, and with at least one more game left in this competition, Hesketh wants Wolves to learn from their mistakes.

On a mixed night in Shrewsbury

“For the team, obviously disappointed with the result, obviously I was happy to get a goal, but we wanted to come away with three points, or even a point, see it through to penalties and try and get a point there, but we’re disappointed with the goals.

“The last goal, we’re obviously throwing men forward because we were down and got hit on the counter, but it was crosses into the box and the goal over the top we could have done better for, but we need to take the positives from the game and work on the negatives in training.”

On handling the physical battle

“I think we did well. Physically they’re a lot bigger and stronger lads, obviously older and more experienced, they’ve played league football, but it’s a good opportunity for us to test ourselves against league opponents because that’s where we want to play and even higher.

“Towards the end I think we got fatigued, I think we’ve had three games in eight days, so it caught up to a few of us, and they obviously got three goals second-half.”

On taking his goal well

“I was pleased with it. In the right place at the right time, and I managed to finish it. I thought the lad cleared it off the line, but luckily it went in, 1-0 at half-time, so we went in and felt confident with the way we played first-half, I thought we were the better team, but they’ve come out second-half and were a different team.

“Maybe we could have been a bit braver on the ball, second-half could have played a bit more, playing out from the back, instead of going long as often as we did. Towards the end, when we were 2-1 down, we started getting the ball down and playing, we made a few opportunities for ourselves, and we could have done that more in the second-half.”

On the lessons to learn

“We need to stick to our ways and play football because I think we’re good at it and we can play out when we get the ball moving around and can create chances for ourselves. We’re not the biggest lads, but they’ve got 6ft 4 lads and it’s hard for us to compete against them because of their strength and size.

“So, if we get the ball down and play, then we could have created more chances and we did that towards the end, but then it was too late in the game and we got hit on the counter because we were throwing men forward.”

On a different challenge

“All the lads enjoy it. It’s a good opportunity for us to test ourselves against older lads. There’s some 30-year-olds in there that have a lot of experience in league football and it’s obviously very good for us to compete against them and we’ll only learn from it, even with losses like this, coming away from it, we can look at the negatives, work on them and learn what to do next time.”


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Scott Sellars | Head of Academy