The highly rated pair of Max Clayton and Nick Powell won’t be risked in the first team till they’re physically ready, says Dario.
The two 16 year olds are currently on international duty with England for their Montaigu Tournament campaign which takes place over the next few days.
Big expectations are building on the pair, as well as their Under-16s team mates – a group Dario believes to hold some of the best players the academy has produced. With Liverpool last year attempting to lure Clayton away from the club, Alex fans are understandably eager to see the future of CAFC in action.
Both Clayton and Powell have now signed scholarships with the club, securing their futures for a few years at least. It leaves Dario free to plan their route into the first team but the master says he won’t be putting them in the first team till they’re absolutely ready.
Dario told thisisstaffordshire.co.uk: ‘There were real fears we’d lose Max, who is our best under-16. When Gudjon was in charge he said he was going, but I assured him there would be kids in the team.
‘They’ll only go in if they are physically strong enough. I wouldn’t risk them. They will need to train regularly with the first team initially and adjust to the pace.
‘But Nick is playing under-18s football now and between now and September Max is sure to develop physically. While their main priority will be to start their scholarships, I expect both of them to go into the first-team early.’
Previous Alex ‘wonder kids’ have been given early debuts. Dean Ashton of course made his debut at just 16 years old as a substitute whilst Billy Jones was close to being the youngest first team Alex player ever when he made his debut at 16 and 7 months.
Amongst others Danny Murphy and Kenny Lunt both became first team choices before they had even signed professional terms. But it’s not always the case; Nicky Maynard was approaching his 20th birthday before he took the game by storm in 2006.