Clarke explains why Under-17s defender Jones was part of travelling squad to StokeSTEVE Clarke has revealed his thinking as Callum Jones became the latest Academy player to be part of an Albion Barclays Premier League travelling squad in the last three months.
The Under-17s centre-half was rewarded with a trip to Stoke on Saturday after training with the first team in the build-up to the Britannia Stadium clash.
Jones follows in the footsteps of striker Adil Nabi and Isaiah Brown, who were unused substitutes at Reading and Chelsea respectively.
“It's just experience,” said Clarke.
“Young Callum came up with us, he's trained with the first team.
“Every day he trained he was in the group.
“He handled himself well but it was a chance to give him some experience.
“It's important you give your academy encouragement.
“If you just close the door on them and don't give them the chance to train with the first team, or travel with the first team, then it can seem a long way for an under-18s player.
“You need to show them the step isn't that big provided they continue to work and apply themselves.
“The Premier League is a difficult league.
“To throw a young boy into that game on Saturday would be difficult as it was always going to be a very tough game.”