Jones lauds Hatters’ ‘wealth of riches’

James Justin was one of two teenagers to start for Luton on Tuesday night
James Justin was one of two teenagers to start for Luton on Tuesday night

Hatters boss Nathan Jones was left revelling at the ‘wealth of riches’ currently coming through on the conveyor belt of young talent at Kenilworth Road

After only two players from the youth system made their league debut in over five years, with Adam Watkins (2011) and Alex Lacey (2013) the last to do so, Jones has doubled that in the space of just four days, with James Justin and Akin Famewo given their first starts.

This is the youngest team, I’m told, to play in Luton’s history and I thought they were magnificent.

Nathan Jones

Justin started against Doncaster at the weekend and then retained his place for the 1-1 draw with Hartlepool on Tuesday night, playing alongside Famewo in what is believed to be the youngest side to take the field in Football League game for the Hatters, with an average age of just over 21.

Speaking afterwards, Jones said: “We have a wealth of riches in our young players and we trust them.

“This is the youngest team, I’m told, to play in Luton’s history and I thought they were magnificent.

“Akin, came in for his first league debut (start). James Justin is maturing daily and even people like Jake Gray, who we’ve taken, Alex Gilliead are young players, so it’s an excellent performance.

“Scotty Cuthbert got injured at the weekend, so did Johnny Mullins, his hamstring was problematic, so we didn’t risk him, but we don’t need to risk him because of what we have here, in terms of Akin and Frankie Musonda.

“James Justin was equally as good and then you look at people like Alex Gilliead, who contributed, I’m really proud of them.

“A lot of them were enforced in terms of what we had to do, Danny Hylton was obviously suspended, Jordan Cook had to come off (against Doncaster) because he felt his hamstring, but we don’t fear those changes because of the squad we’ve got.”

At the age of 30, centre half Alan Sheehan was the eldest statesmen on the evening and he too was fulsome in his praise of his younger team-mates.

He added: “I’ve always believed, even when I was a young boy, that age is only a number.

“These lads are good enough, whether they get a few games this year and kick on next year, they’ll keep progressing.

“It’s a great bunch of lads, you’ve got Akin, JJ, Frankie, Zane Banton and Tyreeq Bakinson and the good thing about them, they’ve all got an unbelievable attitude.

“They’re a credit to be around and they wouldn’t be around us if they weren’t good enough.

“You can see a few lads come through with a chip on their shoulder but it’s not like that here. They’re a great bunch of lads and they’ll all get a chance at some stage.