David Unsworth believes Roberto Martinez’s squad for the Barclays Asia Trophy provides the perfect inspiration to spur on the Club’s youngsters.
Tyias Browning, Brendan Galloway, Luke Garbutt, Conor McAleny, Jonjoe Kenny and Jindrich Stanek - all of whom were involved with the Under-21s last season - are among those included for the trip to the Far East, while Ryan Ledson was also called up in the absence of the injured Muhamed Besic.
Under-21s boss Unsworth says he is delighted for Ledson - and has urged the Netherton-born midfielder and his peers to showcase their talent if called upon in Singapore.
“It’s fantastic and if that isn’t a message to all of our young players that they are going to get massive opportunities with our first-team, then I don’t know what is,” he exclusively told evertontv. “It is a great incentive for them and a great opportunity for the boys who have gone.
“It fills me with absolute pride. It is a great honour to be with these players, they’re a terrific bunch, but they have to go and deliver now.
“The manager and the first-team staff take a real interest in the young players. They have given them this opportunity and it’s up to them to take it.”
It was Academy graduate McAleny who stole the headlines in the 4-0 win over Swindon Town on Saturday, notching with a late strike and playing a part in each of the other three goals.
And Unsworth believes the forward’s efforts were just reward after battling through a series of unfortunate injuries in recent seasons.
“It was a terrific performance and I’m delighted for Conor,” added Unsworth. “He’s had a horrendous run of injuries in the time that I have been back at the Club and even before that. He’s been so unlucky.
“I saw the gaffer’s interview afterwards about him keeping fit for the rest of pre-season and that’s absolutely spot on.
“He just needs a run of time and a run of games to show his ability.”