Date: 24th June 2016 at 11:58am
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If you don’t know who Ronan Hale is, then please remember the name. He was the top scorer in the Academy last year notching up an impressive 28 goals last season including a game against Coventry where is scored all 4 goals and then bagged another 4 the following week.

Ronan Hale, at just 17 years of age, signed a professional contract with Birmingham City which allows him to sign contracts in order to play at the club. His manager, Steve Spooner said that he was an impressive young player with an eye for goal. This is certainly true. Even on his international debut with his country, Hale managed to notch up 2 impressive goals. It’s not just the amount of goals either. He can score left footed shots; right footed shots; headers, volleys… you name it, Hale can do it.

But why am I mentioning Hale now? The rise of Marcus Rashford at Manchester United has got me thinking about youth players. We are of that culture whereby youth players often go out on loan to various lower clubs in order to gain experience. They often go on loan for a full year and the likes of Birmingham City have been beneficiaries of this for a few years. However, this wasn’t the case. David Beckham had a one month loan with Preston and this was seen rare at the time. So players were allowed to come into the first team set up earlier. Sir Alex always put young players on the wing to gain experience such as Scholes as a winger before moving centrally.

If we can adopt these ideas of allowing youth to flourish, then surely we have the makings of a good team. Youth players often play without any pressure and they have the passion in order to succeed. Often, they close the ball down quickly and just try and get any scraps that come their way. Due to this, I think that Hale could be Birmingham’s equivalent to Rashford.

They both have that rare ability to be in the right place at the right time and keep a cool head in order to hit the target. They both have the pace needed in order to get beyond a man whilst also having the awareness to play in others around them. Just because he is a young player doesn’t mean we should be so cautious. Why can’t we play youth players in big games? They often thrive and we have a fairly ageing team and need youngsters to come through. As a club we pride ourselves on our youth system and therefore I believe that if we give Hale a chance, he could make a name for himself in the 2016/2017 season!

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