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Interviews

Jaap praises impact of youngsters in Royals squad

Manager also aims for solid performance against Birmingham

24 August 2017

Jaap Stam has lauded the impact of the young players in his squad, and he wants to help them develop further this season.

A host of youngsters made the Carabao Cup squad on Tuesday night, with seven of the 18 coming from the Royals' Academy.

Academy

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Four of the Academy graduates made an impact on the pitch on the night, with 16-year-old Danny Loader making his senior debut, before being called up to England's U18s for their upcoming friendlies.

Fellow striker Sam Smith also scored his first goal in first team action, netting the decisive third in extra time to send the Royals to the next round.

Stam is keen to help his promising young players develop, saying: "We play these games to go to the next round but sometimes, like in previous games last season, we want to use this stage for the young players to experience certain games as well, to show themselves.

"Sam Smith has done very well, every time he looked a threat with his runs in behind especially. He had that big opportunity before he scored already, he missed that one but the second one, he finished.

"It was a great finish, a great run in behind, a great goal so that was very good for him."

"Andy Rinomhota played on the right side as a right-back, Axel (Andresson) came in as a centre-back and did very, very well.

"Even Danny Loader came on in extra time, 16 years old but a big talent within the club. You can already see that they feel confident in how we play.

Interviews

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"They train with the first team squad, and if they're doing well they're given this opportunity to play. They know that, together with some of the experienced players, getting the result and going to the next round was a good feeling for them."

Stam also wants to use the momentum gained from the Royals' cup run and translate that into three important points away at Birmingham City at the weekend.

He is well aware of the threats Birmingham pose, though, adding: "We want to win, we need to win. We need a good result in this game because that gives a boost in confidence for the players, the whole team.

"We're aware of what they can do and how they can play. They've brought in three new players, Sam Gallagher has joined them. He's a big presence up front as well, a difficult player to play against.

"We know how they set up and how they play. They've got a good team, good players. We need to be aware of that, and that's what we're going to be doing."


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