Give the kids a chance
By Ben Kosky PAULO Sousa has pledged to throw more youngsters into the firing line for QPR s remaining games this season if they impress in training. Sousa gave 17-year-old striker Antonio German his senior debut against Southampton last Saturday and has
By Ben Kosky
PAULO Sousa has pledged to throw more youngsters into the firing line for QPR's remaining games this season if they impress in training.
Sousa gave 17-year-old striker Antonio German his senior debut against Southampton last Saturday and has also utilised Angelo Balanta and Romone Rose in recent games.
And, with Rangers' play-off challenge fading to no more than a statistical possibility, the Loftus Road boss is keen to see what else the youth team can offer as he begins preparing for next season.
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"First of all they have to have ability," Sousa declared. "But we need to think they will become better and in the future they can help us to get to our target.
"Because we lost players to injury, I've already given opportunities to some young players. For instance, I brought Romone in for the game against Burnley in the FA Cup and he played fantastic.
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"He could have scored two goals and it would have been the best trophy for him, but the Burnley keeper made good saves. I'm always looking to push the younger players.
"But first we need a solid team to help them grow. It's not for the youngsters to push the older ones to play a better game - it should be the other way round.
"Players will get more opportunities if they give me the feeling in training they can be useful and better than the others. It's not about 'younger' or 'older' - it's about what he can give the coach."
Understandably, Sousa declined to single out individuals, but admitted he already has firm views as to which current members of the Rs' youth set-up have first-team potential.
Overall, the Rangers coach intends to make few changes to his squad in the close season - a digression from the club's recent policy of chopping, changing and attempting to stockpile as many players as possible.
"We're without six or seven important players and most of them won't be fit until pre-season," Sousa admitted. "With the players back from injury, we will have a strong team, I have no doubt about that.
"There will be small adjustments. We'll look at what kind of players we need and also which ones to let go - I think we will not make so many changes."
Those adjustments to the squad will include decisions on whether to offer longer contracts to midfielders Jordi Lopez and Liam Miller, both of whom are on deals that expire at the end of the season.
But QPR are unlikely to attempt to keep striker Samuel Di Carmine, who is on a year-long loan from Fiorentina, but has made it clear that he plans to return home to Italy at the end of the season.