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Marshall on U23 cup progress

U23 manager on youngsters' development, new contracts and more

27 February 2019

Scott Marshall praised the character of his youthful Under-23 side, after they overcame their Manchester United counterparts in the Premier League International Cup on Monday night.

Danny Loader's hat-trick gave the Royals a 3-1 victory at Leigh Sports Village earlier in the week, with Marshall playing a side that included a scholar, an Under-16 and several first-year professionals.

This result sent the young Royals through to the semi-finals of the International Cup, all while they are still involved in the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup and Premier League Cup, alongside a promising league campaign.

"It was a really good game, a high level and to go to Man United and put on a performance like that was really pleasing," Marshall said of the match itself.

"We had plenty of young ones doing well, putting in some good performances and Danny's hat-trick was good - you can see the senior involvement has pulled him on a bit more. It's really pleasing all round."

It was announced on Tuesday that four of our youngsters - Tom Holmes, Jordan Holsgrove, Teddy Howe and Tom McIntyre have all signed new contracts with the club, and Marshall is looking forward to helping them develop further.

"It's great, we're delighted that they've committed their futures. I think they recognise that there are opportunities for them to help keep them pushing forward.

"I'm sure they're enjoying all the challenges they have right now, we're looking forward to furthering on their development with us and hopefully pushing them on towards the first team as quick as we can."

Our Under-23s' continued involvement in four competitions has enabled them to play a variety of opposition so far this season - from European opponents to non-league senior teams, to teams outside the Premier League 2 pyramid.

Marshall says this varied experience can only be of benefit to the players going forward, as they prepare for their future careers.

"We've looked at the fixture list and we're really happy with the way the fixtures have been," he added. "It would be great to get more fixtures like that into our programme.

"Certainly, going up and playing away against Man United are good challenges for our lads to bring them on, and the cup competitions are always a bit exciting as well.

"It's good to be at this time of year and still pushing on in a number of competitions. It brings the players on and the games are challenging as well.

"They've worked hard to get to this stage and still be in all these competitions. It's not something that's happened overnight, the boys have created their own environment in that they push each other on - it's a competitive environment, day in, day out.

"I think that helps them when they go out onto the field, knowing that you're challenging yourself each day in and around training. 

"We try and keep them challenged daily, so that they're used to meeting different challenges when the fixtures come around - we're happy with the way they're progressing."

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