Kit Symons has pledged to continue to give young talent a chance to shine at Fulham – but insists he will always pick the best team available as he seeks to guide the Whites up the Championship table.
The Fulham manager, who was previously in charge of the club’s under-21 side, has brought through a clutch of youngsters during his brief time in the Craven Cottage hotseat. Despite losing Patrick Roberts to Manchester City, Symons is still keen to offer the brightest young stars a first team opportunity, encouraged by the performances of Lasse Vigen Christensen and Marcus Bettinelli during their first taste of senior football last season.
I know all the young players very very well. I’ll pick the best team available for each given game. If that involves our young players then brilliant but it won’t always. I’m a big believer in young players and homegrown players and I’d love to see several playing in our team but it’s important to make this into a winning run and getting the results.
Symons is clear that the next batch of young talent from the club’s academy still needs time to develop, however:
There’s probably nobody close. So many players came through in one hit last season. Moussa [Dembele] is still very young. There’s nobody on the verge of breaking in. Given time, hopefully they’ll become good enough for our first team squad.
I think it’s important to have a strong academy. Since my time, we’ve had an excellent academy and it has produced players. The type of club we are, it’s important for us to have that link from the academy to the first team.
We’ll have a fairly tight squad but because it’s tight people will get opportunities. We’ll be relying on people to be ready and take their chances. It’s tough for some of those young players. For some, there’ll be loan opportunities once we won’t be leaving ourselves short to get first team football on a regular basis. We need enough quality bodies for the first team here.