Barnet’s Under-18s were without a competitive game this week and instead played an 11v11 game with a penalty shoot-out to decider the winner at The Hive.
The game finished 2-2 and Under-18s coach Dean Selvey felt the game was highly beneficial for the group as they prepare to face Luton Town in the FA Youth Cup at The Hive on Tuesday.
“It was a good opportunity to get some players who haven’t been playing some minutes and get some players into the group who haven’t been in the group before,” Selvey said.
“We had some boys coming from Group 8, the Under-16 group, who have never been with the group before.
“We used it as an opportunity for them to blend with the group and experience what it’s like to play in Under-18s football.”
The match proved there is good depth available to Selvey whose side travel to Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday when they resume their EFL Youth Alliance League schedule.
“We’ve got a situation now where we’ve got two right-backs, two left-backs, four centre-halves and so on competing for a spot,” he said.
“It was an opportunity to set up 11v11 with a couple of subs on each team and say to the two groups: ‘Prove that you’re the best player’.”
The game went to penalties but with the Hatters visiting on Tuesday in the FA Youth Cup, that proved a useful experience too.
“Because we’ve got the FA Youth Cup next week we decided to go to penalties,” said Selvey. “The referee ran it like a regular penalty shoot-out with the two teams on the halfway line.
“My team missed one of the first two penalties. Then our goalkeeper saved the last two for us to win and the boys ran over into the corner to celebrate like it was a proper game; sliding on their knees and bundling on top of each other – it was brilliant. The team that lost were genuinely gutted to lose.”
You can watch Dean’s full interview below. There will also be more from Dean and Academy Manager Henry Newman looking ahead to Tuesday’s FA Youth Cup clash on Monday.