Jones won't just hand out call-ups to Luton's U18 starlets

Luton Town's promising crop of youngsters have been warned they won't just be simply handed a place in the first team squad by manager Nathan Jones.

Town chief Nathan Jones
Town chief Nathan Jones

The U18s have had a magnificent season so far, reaching the last eight of the FA Youth Cup, narrowly knocked out by Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday night.

Paul Driver’s side have also won the South East Youth Alliance title, and have a chance of lifting the Youth Alliance League Cup too, but when asked if he would include them in the squad, should Town’s season peter out in the coming weeks, Jones said: “I won’t give them anything, and it won’t depend on where we are or anything.

“If they’re ready, they will get an opportunity. It’s not, well I’m just going to hand them something, because life’s not like that, and neither’s a football club like that.

“If they earn it, and they keep doing as they’re doing then I’m sure they will get an opportunity. But regardless of where we are or what we’re fighting for, if they are ready, they will get an opportunity.”

Jones did admit that their superb run in the FA Youth Cup, knocking out the likes of Preston North End and Oldham Athletic had brought a number of them to his attention.

He added: “Its put a few of them into our reckoning and really pushed some of the young lads to the fore.

“We’re really proud of them as we’ve reiterated in weeks gone by. They played fantastically well on Tuesday, probably better than in other games that they’ve won, but when you get to the latter stages, competition is fierce.

“We’re very, very proud and we’re looking forward to working with them, because as soon as they’re ready and they have enough ability then they’ll get their opportunities.

“We have a group here now, that have got an opportunity, they’ve got a chance of progressing.

“It’s going to take time, there won’t be instant ones because you can’t jump straight from the youth team into a first team and expect to take the world by storm.

“But we’re happy with the group that we have, we’re going to continue to develop them, and hopefully they’ll end up in the first team.”