Young Guns II – The Day After

Ray Hudson

– After thinking about it for 24 hours, has your opinion changed about the play of the younger players in last night’s game? After all, they did win the game.

‘You know, I’m not going to make any apologies to anyone for holding players accountable for game-time, show time performances. I had words with them individually. We made the right move. It was a brave decision. We did what any big club does ? playing young players and getting a result. By that part, I commended the team. When we were 2-0 up, that’s where the youth, and naiveté, and inexperience comes in. This isn’t dancing school. Sometimes these kids, who have had silver spoons in their mouths for so long, and they get by, John (Trask) and I have been very, very patient, but there’s times where you feel it’s necessary to really crack the whip. That’s the way it’s all over the world, and that’s the way it should be in this country, but it really isn’t. But to some people, who are naïve to the nuts and bolts of the working week, and game-time preparation for the big league, need to come to terms with that. This isn’t the f—— school where you go to learn etiquette ? finishing school. And sometimes there’s different ways to get through to people, and last night I reached a point where it wasn’t the required article. . . .’

‘I found things to like in Brian Carroll’s first half. He didn’t build on that in the second half. I found a lot to like in ‘Stokies’ performance. Doug Warren, only idiots would say that he didn’t have much to do. That’s the sign of good goalkeeper ? how he organized his defense, how he managed his whole overall 90-minute game. That was a very, very good goalkeeping performance . . . .’

(Note: At this point, the tape in the recorder needed to be flipped. Hudson went on to comment on Barclay ? ‘who had good moments’, Quintanilla ? ‘contributed, but not for the whole 90-minutes’, Eskandarian ? ‘played hard, but must finish his chances’. It picks up with Hudson explaining his responsibility as coach to the young players.)

‘. . . . We don’t believe that you inject that sort of performance into a player. We create a great environment for these players to rise to the occasion. And there’s been times where they’ve stepped up and done it! Last night, collectively, they really didn’t. And I think they got caught in amongst each other, especially in the second half.’

‘We brought Ali Curtis along tremendously well, but we’ll never get any credit for that. That’s all forgotten. I don’t think Bobby Convey has played better, in the central midfield since I put him there. I did that, nobody else did. Bryan Namoff has come along in leaps and bounds. The other kids, from this year’s draft, are taking longer than what we thought.’

– One argument would be that you should have played them in games, like coaches Bradley and Sarachan, in order to give them more game time development. Why hasn’t that been the case? And in hindsight, do you think they should have been given playing time before this?

‘If you think that 5 or 10 minutes would make the difference, I’d argue. Certainly whenever we’ve had an opportunity we’ve always been in a dogfight of a game. That’s the dilemma. Do you go to those sorts of players, or do you let the veterans grind it out?’

‘We’ve thrown some bones to the kids on some occasions. I haven’t got the records, but whenever we’ve got the opportunity to bleed some kids in . . . What? Do you think this is personal? Do you think that we got something against youth? It’s not that way at all. It’s selecting the right time and the right situation to bleed these kids in. Alecko has played a lot of minutes for this club. He’s had the opportunities; he’s had a lot of times. Brian (Carroll) and David (Stokes) have been behind the curve. David Stokes proved last night that he’s pretty close to being ready. He stepped up.’

‘In this league, where the learning curve is pretty much 90-degrees, you’re going to take some major gambles in putting that in. I don’t think we’ve been in a position to take those opportunities to gamble on the outcome of a game when nearly every game has been overtime, or a one-goal game. They have not shown me . . . and where are these people? Do they see them during the working week? Do they see how far short they are in terms of technique, or athleticism, or command? We see them every working hour, every working minute. We see them when they don’t do well in a scrimmage or a regular routine. It stands for something. That’s how you build up your credibility up, and you build your trust up. These other teams have found that in their players. I’m sorry, but I’m not God. I cannot put in what God left out, and I think we do a pretty good job speeding it along. But, it ain’t my fault when the ball comes and you can’t pass it five yards. They’ve got to do that; they got to take responsibility on themselves.’

‘I have absolutely no apologies for anybody that thinks we haven’t got a good youth policy system. These are my youth players. We brought these players in. They have got to prove themselves worthy. Like I said, we played a brave card there last night. We didn’t play a full team.’

– Because of salary cap and roster size limitations ? not having a youth squad ? and not being able to use them in games, how do you develop the young players to the right level?

‘We get them away on loan. We get the kids away as best we can. Doug Warren, Brian Carroll, David Stokes have all been away to the A-League teams, and I think that’s done them some good. But, there’s no short-term answer. There’s no quick fix. They really have to convince us in a multitude of ways that they’re ready. And we don’t hesitate on throwing Alecko in. We’ve never hesitated on him in particular. Devin Barclay, you’ve seen the emergence of him during the working week, he’s really starting really knock on the door. Stokes is starting to confirm it a little bit more after that performance. It’s just not going to come over night or 3 or 4 months after they come out of the college system. That’s pretty much the way it is.’

‘We’re happy with what we’ve got out of the draft this year. We’re very pleased. But, I’m not going to force the sand through the hourglass. I’m just not going to do it because in my opinion they’re just not there. And when it gets confirmed like last night, they’re still f—— after you!’

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