I think there is only one way to introduce young players into a football team and that is the professional way.
I was fortunate enough to move into the Wrexham squad at the age of 16 as a YTS and I have been in the game. since then
Wrexham’s manager at the time was Brian Flynn, who told me that I would be in the first team by the age of 17.
I went away for summer and when I came back I was straight in the side for pre-season.
Manchester City came in for me soon after offering the opportunity to play in the Premier League, but that didn’t materialise.
I got my £1m transfer to Birmingham City after that and the rest is history.
When I first stepped into the squad I could never see myself playing for the first team and when I did Brian used me sparingly.
His school of thought was that if you were good enough you were old enough, which is exactly what I believe.
You have to be careful how you do things, you have to find the balance.
On Tuesday night we brought the first team and the under-19s together at Hull United’s Dene Park for a training match.
As a club we would like to thank former Boro player Jamie Waltham for hosting the game and putting on some excellent food.
It is important that the young players at a club don’t feel alienated, which is why we all warmed up together and made sure they felt a part of it.
In the past, eight or nine players have been brought in for a cup game and then we haven’t seen them again for six months. I don’t think that benefits anybody.
Jamie Stewart came in and did well for us, but we left him out at Radcliffe on Saturday because it had been a big week for the lad.
We still took him with us and he was given the chance to see things from both sides.
This won’t do him any harm. I think it is great for the young lads to come with us on a Saturday to see what we do and also to see what is expected of them.
I have seen young players in the past come in and they are like a rabbit in the headlights.
If they know what it is about then that is half of the battle.
We are helped by the fact that we have a good bunch of lads in the first-team changing room at the moment, that goes a long way.
It is important now that we start to look to the future because it isn’t all about spending money on bringing lads in.
We have a youth set-up at the club for a reason and we are looking forward to seeing the benefits.