Danny Webb keen to push more of Leyton Orient’s young guns into Steve Davis’ first-team
PUBLISHED: 13:00 31 October 2017
Simon O'Connor Photography
Ruel Sotiriou has forced his way into first-team reckoning with some strong academy displays
Danny Webb is looking to push more of Leyton Orient’s youngsters into Steve Davis’ first-team squad.
The O’s academy manager has seen Ruel Sotiriou’s impressive form for the under-18s earn him a senior debut in recent weeks.
Sam Dalby also started the campaign with Webb and the youth-team, but has come off the bench in the National League.
Although Webb wants to see his first and second-year scholars winning in their Youth Alliance South East division, his ultimate aim is to push them through the ranks.
“It’s nice to win every week, but the job of the youth-team for me has been to get one or two through for the manager to select,” he told the official club website.
“And I’ve done that so far, but now it’s a case of not resting on my laurels and trying to get four, five or six if we can.
“They are young, but even if they are first-year scholars and only 16, if they are good enough, I’ll be pushing them.”
Webb was speaking after watching Orient reach the first round of the FA Youth Cup with a 4-0 win over Hornchurch last Wednesday (October 25).
It was the first time many of the academy squad had played at Brisbane Road in a competitive fixture and they didn’t disappoint.
Dalby bounced back from missing a first half penalty to score twice after the break with Hector Kyprianou and Teddy Perkins also on target.
“They coped really well (under the lights at Brisbane Road) and a few of them have been out on that pitch playing in reserve games,” said Webb.
“I’m trying to push as many as I can so they can get a feel of it and make the next step up the ladder.
“It’s been a tough season for a lot of them because we’ve got a lot of 16-year-olds in the team and young 17-year-olds and in our youth league we are playing against a lot of 17 and 18-year-olds, so it’s great for their development.
“But just because it was Hornchurch, it didn’t mean it would be a walkover and I think they dealt with the occasion really well.
“Now hopefully in two years, or even one year or even one week, they’ll be out on the pitch in front of 4,000, so this is just a little baby step in their development.”
Orient weren’t having it all their own way at half time of their clash with Hornchurch after failing to take their chances.
But Webb was pleased they remained calm and eventually their quality shone through under the lights at Brisbane Road.
He added: “At half time I just told them to keep doing what they had been doing and to keep getting into the box.
“I told the wide men to play a little bit higher up, but at the same time it was also important the back four showed the same discipline they showed in the first half because we are a National League team now.
“First and foremost our defenders and goalkeepers just need to keep the ball out of the goal, which is a basic statement, but my thoughts were ‘we have kept a clean sheet in the first half so can they keep it up for the rest of the game’ and they did.
“It was pleasing to see a few surprising people get on the scoresheet and nice a corner routine we work on quite a lot came off and allowed Teddy, our captain, to score.
“It was good for them boys to go and celebrate with Simon (O’Connor) the photographer, but it’s a shame he had his camera on the lens which they don’t know yet!”