Sheffield Wednesday academy chief lays down the gauntlet to Owls starlets

Academy manager Steven Haslam has challenged the Owls' Under-18s to build on their memorable double success.

Friday, 10th May 2019, 14:22 pm
Updated Friday, 10th May 2019, 19:38 pm

Andy Holdsworth's men secured their second piece of silverware last week, beating Cardiff City 3-2 in the National play-off final at Hillsborough.

They also lifted the Professional Development League Two North title after suffering just three defeats in the regular league campaign.

Haslam told The Star: "The Under-18s had a fabulous season.

Liam Waldock and Liam Shaw celebrate after winning the PDL2 National Play-Off Final at Hillsborough

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"It was a really good experience for them to play on the main stage at Hillsborough the other day. That will be invaluable in their development. The earlier they get used to that sort of environment the better.

"It is now about continuing to improve as they move into the Under-23s and beyond.

"They will get a few weeks off now but will be monitored very closely over the summer. We expect them to be in top class condition and to hit the ground running from day one when they return to pre-season."

Earlier this week, the club confirmed development squad players Warren Clarke, Cameron McCulloch, Freddie Nielsen, Connor O’Grady, Dan Wallis and Liam Williams will leave when their contracts expire this summer.

U18s striker Eyad Hammoud has also not been retained.

Haslam said: "It is tough because you get to know the lads and you are here to help the players have careers in the game.

"I think for a lot of the boys that have unfortunately been released the time has come for them to find their feet in men's football at whatever level that will be. We will continue to support them and hopefully assist in their football journey."