Richard Beale reflects on 'fantastic year' for Baggies youngsters ahead of Man Utd test

A photo of U21s boss Richard Beale in a black Albion crested coat

Richard Beale’s PL2 team are raring to go for their next match against Manchester United at The Hawthorns on Monday night (ko 7pm). 

The Red Devils make the journey down from Old Trafford looking to secure a big win in first-team surroundings, while Albion’s young hopefuls will be keen to claim a scalp against one of the country’s best academies. 

In the Premier League 2 standings, neither the Baggies or United will be content with their current position in the division and a win in B71 this time around could help both push towards their goals before the end of the season. 

There’s just four matches remaining for Beale’s team, and he hopes a win on Monday night can propel his 21s to continue their recent upward trajectory. 

He said: “The U21 players are in a really good position. 

“They’re doing the basics well now, working at the level we want them to, showing good character in games, and no end of quality too. 

“We’re really happy with where they’re at right now and the last three or four matches have been excellent and that’s not just on the eye, because the running stats have backed that up with how intensely the lads have been playing. 

“We were on the wrong end of a result at Brighton, but with the measure of chances we had it could’ve been a far different result. 

“I was proud of the level of performance because it was a long journey, long day, against an academy who spend a lot of money and we more than matched them. 

“What we can do is prepare the players in the right way and work with them and I’m really looking forward to the end of this year, and the start of next season working with this set of players. 

A photo of Albion youngster Fenton Heard in blue 23/24 training gear carrying a yellow mannequin
Fenton Heard is one of many academy stars to have impressed on their first-team debut this season

“It’d be lovely to finish in the top 16 so we can have extra players for those play-off games, but we know it’s going to be tough. 

“There’s some tough games coming up but the boys are preparing right for the games - improving themselves individually which is the most important thing - and there hasn’t been a game where we haven’t competed to the levels we know this season which is fantastic. 

"That will only stand the boys in good stead and hopefully we can get a few more into the first team, and they can make a similar impact to what Tom Fellows has done.

"It’s been a fantastic year for the young players at this football club. Lots have made debuts, lots have had exposure in the manager’s sessions, which has been along with their performances in the U21s. 

“Stretching them leads to wins in games. That’s fantastic, but I’m always keen to stress the important bit which is individual development. 

A photo of Albion PL2 boss Richard Beale giving out commands at the club's training ground

“We’ve still got five or six lads who were involved in the Premier League Cup final at The Hawthorns and there’s not many games bigger than that for these boys. 

“The Hawthorns holds no fear for our lads and they’re really looking forward to playing on a nice pitch, against good opposition and we’re raring to go and to get at Man Utd. 

“We’re heading towards that strong finish. The boys have been excellent in the last five games and they’ve just got to keep doing what they’re doing, keep those levels of aggression, character and fight they’ve shown to go along with the quality they’ve got.”

How to follow the match

Tickets will be available on the gate at The Hawthorns for Albion's PL2 clash against Manchester United on Monday night.

They are priced at £5 adults and £1 concessions and will be available to purchase on the gate on the Halfords Lane side of the stadium.

WBA TV+ subscribers will be able to watch a live stream of the game here from 6.50pm.

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