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Allan McManus youth academy update

Allan McManus, the Head of Youth at the St Mirren, says recent call-ups at different international levels is great for the club and testament to the hard work of the players. 

Speaking to stmirren.com on a range of topics across the youth academy including the U20s and progression to the first team for a number of players, Allan believes it's great for the club to be producing players at different international levels. He also praised the players themselves for their efforts to develop as footballers. 

St Mirren have seen academy graduates like John McGinn, Stevie Mallan and Lewis Morgan make the full and U21 squads, while current academy players such as Ben Cameron and Ethan Erhahon has been selected to represent Scotland at U16 and U17 level. 

It's fantastic for the club but it's also fantastic for these boys. They have worked hard and they deserve it.

"At the club we give them the platform but ultimately the level they end up playing at is down to how hard they work to improve their game.

"It's fantastic for a club like ours that we have managed to produce young international players and long may that continue." 

Despite losing 4-2 to Aberdeen last night in the SPFL Development League, the U20s have been on a fine run of form recently with three wins from their last five matches.

While Allan confessed he does feel that performances can improve, he's been happy with results and believes the ability to win whilst not playing at their best can stand these players in good stead if and when they make it to first team level.   

The results have been decent though I still think the performances can get better. 

"But all credit to the boys, they've shown that they can win games in different manners which is very important because you don't always win games at first team level playing pretty, attractive football - sometimes you need to grind out results.

"We played very well with a lot of attacking football against Hearts a few weeks ago, but last week against Dundee United we had to win the game in a slightly different manner. 

"It's been particularly pleasing for Ethan Erhahon and David Wilson to have made the step up to the 20s as they can still technically play for the 17s. They've come in and done very well.

"David has looked very composed in goal and Ethan has obviously come in and done very well and got his rewards at the weekend getting his opportunity at first team.

"That's the carrot for all the players at U20s. If they work hard and show the manager glimpses of what they can do then the manager will give them that opportunity. If they keep working hard and keep listening and learning then hopefully more of them will get a chance in the future."

Indeed Ethan made his first team bow in Saturday's match against Raith Rovers at just 16 years-old.

The youngster played the full 90 minutes and, despite Saints' loss, Allan was pleased to see him get that first opportunity and urged him and others to keep working hard and more chances will follow.

I was delighted for him," Allan said. "I think he played well and he grew in confidence in the second half.

"He is a very assured young lad in his ability and if he keeps his head down and keeps listening to the manager, James [Fowler], myself and Andy [Webster] then he could have a big future.

"There are other boys who are there or thereabouts and if they go about their business in the right manner then we could have another few in about it."

Another youth academy player who earned game time at the weekend was Cameron MacPherson when he replaced Gary Irvine as a substitute on 56 minutes.

It was the 18 year-old's second appearance for the first team having made his debut as a substitute in the 2-0 win over Dundee in the Scottish Cup in January.

It's been frustrating for Cammy because he has been pretty much training with the first team on a consistent basis but has had an injury.

"He's just starting to rediscover his fitness and form so it'll be pleasing for him to get some minutes under his belt.

"He's going to have to kick on a wee bit as well and show he is worthy to be in the first team in a regular basis."


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