Youth so ‘important’ to Orient

13:00 05 February 2016

Leyton Orient player-manager Kevin Nolan (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient player-manager Kevin Nolan (pic: Simon O'Connor).

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Kevin Nolan looking forward to working closely with academy director Andy Edwards during his time at the club

Leyton Orient player-manager Kevin Nolan has revealed he is determined to see the academy players at Brisbane Road keep progressing to the first team.

Charlie Grainger, Scott Kashket and to a lesser extent Freddy Moncur and Victor Adeboyejo have been given opportunities for the O’s this year and impressed after initially starting in the youth system at E10.

The work of academy director Andy Edwards has long been lauded and this campaign has demonstrated the vast amount of talent at Orient.

On Tuesday, a development team took on Southend United and won 4-1 with Kashket, Sandro Semedo and Sam Ling on target.

Grainger played in goal for the O’s while other youngster Moncur, Aron Pollock, Josh Koroma and Steven Alzate were involved.

Nolan played the first half against the Blues and explained how pleased he is to be getting to know the youth at Brisbane Road.

He said: “We had a lot of lads who we thought needed a game and myself included, I managed to get a run-out, which was good.

“It was a very young Southend side who gave us a decent test. It was good to see the young lads involved and for me to get to know them because it is important that we continue their development.

“We want to try and get them in and around us and pushing the first team lads as quickly as possible. I think hopefully over the next couple of years, while I am here, we can give them an opportunity.

“I am working closely with Andy to try and make sure we get them youngsters coming through because it would be really nice and good on my part.”

After playing 45 minutes on Tuesday, Orient fans will be wondering how close Nolan is to declaring himself 100 per cent match fit.

The former West Ham United captain still feels a few weeks away from being at his optimum, but believes his sharpness is coming back.

Nolan added: “I feel good, I feel okay and it is just one of those things. You can do all the training in the world, but once you get back on the pitch it is a totally different thing.

“I just had to get that little bit of sharpness back and it is still coming. I am behind all the boys at the moment in terms of sharpness and where I want to be, but it is going to come soon.”

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