U21s: Andrew Hughes' Arsenal assessment

Under-21s player-coach reviews young Whites' defeat to Arsenal in final game of 2014/15 season

Bolton Wanderers Under-21s player-coach Andrew Hughes believes there is plenty for the young Whites to build on heading into next season despite a disappointing end to the campaign against Arsenal.

Facing off against the Gunners at Macron Stadium in their last game of 2014/15 on Monday, Bolton fell to a 3-1 defeat despite Liverpool loanee Jordan Lussey cancelling out Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill’s early opener. 

And although disheartened by the loss, Hughes highlighted the return of the club’s loan starlets, the performances of some of the Trotters’ more senior players and the progress of the next crop of youngsters as reasons to feel positive ahead of next season.

“I thought we started the game really well in the first 15 minutes,” said the 37-year-old. “We competed but fair play to them, they scored a good goal. 

“After that we got back into it and until half-time it was a really even game. But after 65 minutes we started making mistakes, and at this level against high-level opposition it causes problems and in the end we got what we deserved.  

“You have to take the environment into perspective as well - we’re playing at the stadium after a long season, the pitch was dry and the game had an end-of-season feel to it. 

“It was a disappointing end to the season but Iain and the manager have outlined what is needed for next year. Hopefully the lads will go away and have a good think about it.”

Hughes continued: “The manager was here so he has seen everything. His eyes don’t lie and he is already thinking ahead to next season so that is great.

“We are where we are. Sometimes we might not have the quality of other teams but if we work hard and match them for effort then sometimes we will get results. 

“The desire the lads have shown throughout the season since I’ve been involved has been great and long may it continue for next year.

“We are disappointed to lose but pleased with a few performances, and it was also good to have the lads who have been out on loan back, like Conor Wilkinson and Sanmi Odelusi. 

“I’m really pleased for Hayden White, Niall Maher and Quade Taylor in particular, and then other bits and bobs from the likes of Channing Campbell-Young and Rob Holding.

“It’s also great for the likes of young Jamie Thomas to have been involved a bit more in recent weeks.

“All the younger lads have had the taste of it now and want to stay in it, so it is up to them come back and push ahead of next year and give Iain a selection headache.”

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