Baggies out of Checkatrade TrophyALBION Assistant Head Coach Ben Garner believes the defeat against Luton Town on Monday will be a learning experience for his side's youngsters.
The 2-0 reverse at Kenilworth Road, which saw Hatters 'keeper Craig King save a first-half penalty, meant the Baggies were eliminated from the Checkatrade Trophy at the group stage.
But Garner believes the tournament has provided invaluable experience to Albion's up-and-coming stars, including 15-year-old Rayhaan Tulloch who made his first start.
"It's a great education for the younger players in the squad.
"It's an eye-opener. They've seen the level of League Two now, how competitive it is and the quality of the play. They know what they've got to aspire to.
"Rayhaan's only 15 but he played 90 minutes and did well. He did run out of legs a little bit but he showed great character to keep going until the end."
And the Baggies boss thought the greater physicality in Luton's side made the difference on the night.
"Luton were strong. They've got good legs in the side. They know their shape and are very disciplined.
"We lost our way a little bit in the second half.
"If the penalty goes in then it's different game. That would have given us a lift and something to hold onto, but unfortunately it wasn't to be.
"Gillingham will be another game for the young lads to learn. It's good opportunity for them to push closer to the first time which is ultimately what this competition is all about."