STEVE Gallen has spoken of his pride at seeing no fewer than four youth team players feature on tour with the main squad this summer.
Max Ehmer, Michael Doughty and Michael Harriman were part of the travelling party in Asia, and the trio have been joined by Frankie Sutherland for the current week’s training camp in Germany.
“What’s great is that I can say to my players: ‘Frankie was your team-mate last season, and now look at him,’ or ‘Doughty, Harriman, Ehmer have all been exactly where you are today, and they’ve ended up touring with the first team’. There is no reason whatsoever why that can’t happen to the lads I am now working with,” Gallen told www.qpr.co.uk
“That’s what my job is all about. Of course it is great to see us win the league, but seeing those lads in and around the first team is fantastic.”
Gallen has always spoke glowingly of the talent which is now starting to come through at the club, but even he admits he has been taken aback by just how well his young charges have fared this summer.
Ehmer, Doughty and Harriman have all enjoyed plenty of game time –right-back Harriman even netted in our 5-0 win over Kelantan – and Gallen confessed: “Has it surprised me how well they have done? In all honesty, yes it has.
“There is no denying the gap between the youth team and the first team has grown because of the players we are now signing.
“We are playing in the best league in the world and are now signing established players from that division. The players coming through the door now are top level players.
“So the challenge we face as a youth team to produce talent which is good enough to challenge for a place in the main squad is obviously far greater. But that is our aim.”
Gallen says there are three factors he looks for in players which will determine how successful they may be in forging a career in the game.
“Firstly, it’s their discipline,” he said. “How disciplined are they? If they are going to mess about, people will start to ask questions.
“Secondly, their attitude. People like Harriman and Frankie have always had a great attitude to their work.
“Thirdly, how well can they look after the football? None of my lads have made the step up because they are really quick, or because they are great in the air. It’s because they are good football players. If you have all of those aspects in place, I always feel you have a chance.
“My brother Kevin is a perfect example of that. He could handle the ball well, he was disciplined, had a great attitude and went on to be a pro for a very long time. If you are missing one or two of those attributes, I believe it’s a short-term career of one or two seasons. “