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Is It Time To Blood Our Young Strikers?

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For the sake of next season, get the youth in now.

Out with the old...
Out with the old...
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

A while back Tom wrote a piece about how it was time to get Alex Samizadeh and Jamie Thomas in to Bolton Wanderers first team.

The logic being they will score more than the current contingent of Emile Heskey, Gary Madine and now Shola Ameobi. I agreed then and I agree now.

This is a very low bar to set our youth players and I don’t doubt they would only score marginally more but there is a vital reason why they should. Next year (whatever league we’re in).

The reason I decided to write this was because at the same time as us being the lowest scorers in the Championship with 10, I saw that Fulham were hoping to get 19 year old (same as Thomas), Moussa Dembele to sign a new deal. They had used him during the latter half of last season and his stats show he wasn’t ready: 11 appearances with no goals. This year however he has 7 goals in 14 games.

What changed?

He got enough games to know what it takes to be in the first team in the Championship.  He then had all summer with that experience to work on those areas of his game.

What Fulham did is not the norm; usually players would be slowly eased in from the bench and loans. The reason being for this cautious approach is playing a striker who didn’t score for 11 games seriously hindered Fulham last season, today however they are reaping the rewards.

If we don’t do the same for our youth strikers this year then it is unlikely they’ll be of use next year.

We can’t afford to go out and buy a striker and we can’t afford another season without one. We should give one of our talents the last 10 or so games to get this experience. Instead of a slightly better youth product making appearances from the bench in 16/17, we will have a striker capable of starting (assuming they are actually good enough).

Could this hinder us this season? Well if we were keeping a striker on the bench who would score more than said players, then yes. We however have Madine, Heskey and Shola averaging between them a goal every 13 games! I for one am happy to throw the dice and say we won’t be missing a significant amount of goals in their absence.