Chris Morgan believes Sheffield United’s future looks bright with a rich crop of youngsters ready to graduate at Bramall Lane.
Goalkeeper George Long and defender Harry Maguire are already first-teamers having made the leap from the club’s academy.
But Blades’ Under-21 coach Morgan has seen several more of his young players gain first-team recognition from manager Danny Wilson this term and he insists there are more to come.
Youngsters like Joe Ironside, Callum McFadzean, Terry Kennedy and Elliott Whitehouse have had first-team action and helped bolster Wilson’s squad, which hadbeen trimmed over the summer due to cost-cutting.
“I believe there are quite a few of the Under-21s who, given the chance, can come in and do a job for us,” said Morgan, who is in his second year of coaching after hanging up his boots.
“You never know until they get a chance, but I look at a lot of them players and think if we pick them, we can trust them and know what we would get from them,” he added.
“Kallum McFadzean, who has been in the Under-21s with me, is in and around the first team and is knocking on the door. He’s been on the bench a few times.
“I think with the young players, you look at them in training and the Under-21 games, but the only way to see if they are ready (for the first team) is to play them.
“Before Harry Maguire and George Long played, it was always the question of ‘can they do it?’.
“Well they have got in the team, and been lucky to have had long stints there. They have showed what they can do.
“We saw Elliott Whitehouse and Terry Kennedy at Doncaster.
“That just shows, the magnitude of the game, that the gaffer has no fears of putting players in.
“We see them day-in, day-out, we know what they can do, the only thing they lack is the experience.
“You only get the experience through playing.
“A lot of the young players are progressing.
“One of the biggest advantages for the young pros this season is they are getting to train with the first team.”
The Blades sit third in League One, and Morgan says there is plenty of optimism around the club heading into tomorrow’s home game against Yeovil Town.
“We lost quite a lot of influential players (in the summer), but to be up there challenging for promotion is a good position to be in,” said the former Barnsley defender.
“We have an FA Cup fourth-round trip to a Premier League club to look forward to too so we are reasonably happy.”