Fulham's Academy Director Huw Jennings feels the 2014 FA Youth Cup was a fantastic experience for that crop of academy stars.
In a re-run of that final, the Young Whites host Chelsea at Craven Cottage in the Quarter-Finals tonight as they look to top the blue side of west London from having a shot of making it five consecutive Youth Cup wins.
Jennings takes pride from their 2014 run, where The Young Whites lost out to Chelsea over the two-legged final, losing 7-6 on aggregate having beaten the Blue side of west London 3-2 in the first leg at Craven Cottage.
Moussa Demebele, Patrick Roberts and Emerson Hyndman all played in that game, all three of whom have gone onto new stages of their careers, with Jennings believing that Fulham's run to that final was the launch of what will be stellar careers.
However, the Academy Director doesn't think the FA Youth Cup is the be-all and end-all to the U18s season as the current crop of youngsters take on the Blues tonight, with either Norwich City or Birmingham City awaiting them in the semi-final.
Jennings said: “These days, I find the youth cup as one of those competitions that is great when you do well but you shouldn’t beat yourself up too much if you get eliminated.
“And yet it still does represent, often the key target for most youth players and youth coaches.
“A few years ago we got to the final against Chelsea and the journey was a fantastic experience for all those involved.
“I think it launched the careers of a number of players in that group, Patrick Roberts, Moussa Dembele, Emerson Hyndman, even guys like Cam Burgess who is now at Scunthorpe.
“Those guys got noticed on the back of that and what pleased me the most about that experience is that we played some fantastic football and I think the Fulham fans acknowledged that.
“We had a terrific turnout for the game at Chelsea, there was a tube strike for the game at Fulham unfortunately but the one at Chelsea was a great turnout for Fulham fans.
“I think they’re very discerning fans and recognise what that type of experience can provide for the players.
“Ultimately, we lost out but I take great pride in the run that we had but I wouldn’t want anyone to think our season is defined by the Youth Cup.”
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