PDP Lead Coach Chris Brown said the Youth Team were fantastic from start to finish in their 8-0 win over Burton Albion on Tuesday.
It was Dale’s seventh consecutive victory, moving them to the top of Northern Group 5 in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup.
“It was fantastic from all of them, from start to finish,” said Brown.
“There was application, quality, goals. It’s the way we want to play, from the Academy all the way up, and it shows that the same messages are given to the lads throughout the ages. I thought every single one of them was superb.
“They were a credit to the club and I’d watch it all again. They were learning as well today – they figured out to play against a deep block and changed formation, which came from us [the coaches], but they scored some unbelievable goals and created some good chances, and probably should have scored more.
“Even on the defensive side, our recoveries to get back in once we’ve lost the ball, and our shape when we had the ball, was really good.”
Despite dominating possession, it took until the 26th minute for Dale to break the deadlock through Morgan Moreland, after which the floodgates opened.
“We were having a chat on the side line, myself and the coaches, about how to exploit them more and we made our strikers wider, which things opened up.
“It was like an explosion, as soon as we changed we scored the first and Morgan’s finish was unbelievable. The quality he has is fantastic, but he needs to be more positive, and that goal set us off really.
“Toby Phillips’ finish was brilliant. He was superb and, even though everyone played superbly well, he was probably standout in terms of quality and continuous application, wanting to get on the ball, getting back, pressing and he was a credit to himself and the club.”
There were six under-16 players in the squad, with three starting and three coming off the substitute’s bench, all of which impressed Brown.
“We put our trust in them and they’ve obviously delivered. Joe Wright played right-back, a bit out of position, but did superbly well. He got a bit nervous at the start but grew into the game.
“Harry Lee was superb, his defending is getting much, much better. There’s no doubt about his quality, it’s just choosing the right pass, but he did that today.
“Louis Clarkson, what you see is what you get, 100% application and he’s now finding his quality more which is great, and he’s developing nicely.
“Then the three lads on the bench get minutes on the pitch and did really well, I was quite impressed with them and Nathan Cain could have scored if he was quicker to a through ball.
“We’re trying to get them involved. Luke Matheson [another under-16s player] is always involved. The integration of the under-16s is important to us because it accelerates their learning, playing in the environment and in a stadium instead of on a Sunday morning.
“It’s credit to the lads that they’re doing it. They step over the white line, we just give them the tools and the guiding influence to try and do them things.
“It shows the continuity between each age group and we saw that today. We’ve got quality in depth and we’re not afraid to give the boys the opportunity, so it’s really pleasing and hopefully we can get them more minutes.”
Brad Wade, Louis White and Lewis Bradley were the senior players in a young team. Brown was delighted with their leadership of their younger teammates.
“I was also really impressed with how they handled themselves. Their leadership skills were superb, they really dictated the play and showed a level of maturity that I really wanted from them. I thought they were absolutely excellent from start to finish.
“Louis White changed position but still showed great application. Lewis Bradley showed his quality and got himself a hat-trick, and Brad Wade’s distribution was fantastic, he set up Lewis’ first goal from his kick! They all delivered, and they should take massive credit from it.”