Stevenage Under-18s exited the FA Youth Cup last night after defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
It's the third successive season Boro's youngsters have reached the third round of this competition, but a comprehensive attacking display for the full 90 minutes from Spurs meant there was no trip to the fourth round.
Reflecting on the game Academy Manager Robbie O’Keefe told us, “Spurs are a top, top Academy side. We watched them at Southampton on Saturday and they put six past Southampton, so we knew they were a very good side. However we just didn’t deal with them in wide areas, particularly down our right where possibly seven of the goals came from.
“I’ve just said to the players there, ‘if you want to be a footballer that’s where you’re going to have to be. That’s the standard you’ll need to be at because not all of those guys will make it and they’ll filter down to the likes of us.’ So people need to be humble and understand that’s where they are at at the moment and that’s where they need to be if they want to be a footballer.
“It’s a big wake-up call. It’s difficult to stomach at the moment as we buckled in the last 20 minutes I felt. A lot of the goals you’d look back and say they were avoidable and it’s difficult not to be scathing of individuals or the team when you’ve just been beaten so convincingly. At the end of the day our boys do want to be footballers but they’ve just been shown tonight what level they need to be at.
“Tottenham handled the ball very well, they moved the ball very well, athletically they were very good and physically they were very good too. However the goal that set the tone was so easily avoidable if we’d make the tackles we’d usually make, but we didn’t make them.
“It’s going to be difficult for the boys to get anything out of that game and come out with any confidence. But the ones who will be successful will come out of it and be better for it. They have to be grown up, accept the defeat and learn from it.”