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Watford chief Duxbury reveals Edwards youth push next season

Watford chief Scott Duxbury says new manager Rob Edwards will give youth a chance in his debut season at the club.

Edwards has been tasked with getting Watford back into the Premier League after a poor 2021/22 campaign.

"My priority is to get together the best group of players that we possibly can," Duxbury told the Watford Observer. "The players know it will be really competitive for places. But without head coaches giving younger players an opportunity you will never know whether they are good enough or not.

"What we'll do is give the younger player opportunities in pre-season. I would love to be able to develop homegrown players and we are fortunate to have an exceptional academy set-up with unbelievable staff. Nothing would please the club more than have players in the first team who have come through the academy.

"I can't promise it, but all I'll say is that a large part of my coaching career has been with young players and helping them develop. I really enjoy doing that. When you're the head coach, you also have to win football matches and have a team that can compete and be the best possible.

"But I want to give youth its chance, because young players give you unbelievable energy and a hunger. They will give you everything, and on the training pitch they are like sponges, absorbing what they hear and see. They want to learn and impress.

"What I want, as we move forwards, is a real pathway for our younger players to work with the first team. We had about six of them working with the senior squad this week. That gave me a chance to get to them know them too. I hope they are happy about being involved – they might not be so happy that we've knocked a week off their holiday by doing so mind you!

"The essential thing is that the standard I expect from the first team has to feed right throughout the club. In my opinion, the young players at a club have to see something they aspire to. They like to know that if they are doing well in games and in training then the head coach will give them the chance to show what they're about."

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Freddie Taylor

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