Arsenal youth boss Kwame Ampadu: Hitchin Town match good for players’ development
- Credit: Archant
Arsenal Under 18 coach Kwame Ampadu has been pleased with the experience his young players gained during their 2-1 defeat by Hitchin Town at Top Field on Wednesday evening.
The youngsters lost by the odd goal in three after Canaries’ forward Liam Brooks put the home side ahead on the half hour mark by coolly slotting past the Gunners goalkeeper Hugo Keto.
Number seven Jodi Osei-Tutu equalised for the Gunners with three minutes remaining before half-time, but home team captain Dan Webb powered a thumping header into the net moments before the break. Despite an open game with both sides creating chances in a full-bloodied match played in a good spirit the home team triumphed.
However, Ampadu was not disheartened at the loss to the Southern Premier League side who have narrowly missed out on promotion to the Southern League South division after losing in the play-offs for the past two seasons.
Speaking on the pitch immediately after the game he said: “It was a really good exercise for our boys to come to Hitchin.
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“It’s a really good pitch, they try and play football too and pass the ball around.
“It was a really good test for us as they’re playing against men.
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“Games like this are very important for our players development because they have to see all aspects of the game – tackles that are going to come in, the physicality of it, the aggression – and then they’ve got to work out where spaces and angles are so it was a really good game for us.”
The well-respected Ampadu also had kind words for his opposite number, Hitchin’s Mark Burke.
Following on from bringing his team to North Herts last November to mark the inauguration of new Top Field lights Ampadu said: “We saw last year that Hitchin would battle well but show skill too.
“Their manager Mark Burke has them trying to play, they’re brave, they try and play the right way, they’ve got good aggression about them too which you need.
“They’re a good side and you can see why they were so close to promotion last year.” Looking forward to the forthcoming season the former Arsenal player added: “Our targets as ever are to keep improving these boys, pushing as many boys up and forward as we possibly can and we’ll see where it gets them.”