NEW York City manager Jackie McNamara has outlined his intention to give youth a chance despite the club’s current predicament.
York are 22nd in League Two and have struggled this campaign, but McNamara has no qualms about giving opportunities to the younger players in his squad.
The former Dundee United manager gave Ryan Gauld his first start while at Tannadice Park, an outlook that he is keen to continue.
Nineteen-year-old Gauld currently plays as an attacking midfielder for Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon having signed a six-year contract last year. He has also played for Scotland Under-21s and had a senior squad call-up.
York have already given debuts to a handful of academy graduates, including the likes of Ben Godfrey and Callum Rzonca.
When asked about the possibility of playing young players in what is a difficult situation for the Minstermen, he said: “The pressure is there whether you’re winning, losing or drawing.
“There’s no more pressure than I put on myself.
“Something I’ve always done is believe that if the kids are good enough, they’re old enough.
“I played kids at 16, 17 at Hampden against Celtic in the 2014 Scottish Cup semi-final, because I believed they were good enough and they’d shown that they were.
“That’s the only way that they’ll improve and learn. If they think that they’re good enough and they’ve shown that they are ready, then we’ll put them in. That’s when we’ll find out if they can handle the pressure.
“Sometimes, I think when you play younger ones they’ve never experienced the fear or the expectation, they can go out and play like they were with their friends or at a boys’ club. That’s the beauty of it. They’re not robotic.
“It’s when they get to four, five or six games, that’s when the fear sets in, and I think that can be a problem. We have to manage that and make sure they go out there not worried about anything and express themselves in the right manner.”
York travel to Accrington Stanley tomorrow in the first round of the FA Cup.
Former Celtic player McNamara, 42, who began his managerial career at Partick Thistle, will be joined in the dugout by assistant manager Simon Donnelly.