EFL CONFIDENT GATES WILL RISE IN THE FUTURE...
THE EFL have defended the Checkatrade Trophy debut and provided some figures to suggest that all is not as bad as the doom-mongers suggested.
An EFL spokesman said: “Despite some negativity in the build-up to the first group games, the introduction of the new Checkatrade Trophy format has been welcomed by many, with over 42,000 fans going through the turnstiles.
“Admittedly, there were some disappointing gates at a number of games but we are hopeful attendances will improve as the competition starts to gather pace next month.
“An important factor in the driving of attendances is, of course, the quality of football on offer and, in that respect, the first Checkatrade match day week did not disappoint with lots of encouraging signs that clubs will be using the competition to provide opportunities to their younger, up and coming players that have not been previously available at a competitive level.”
●A total of 24 young players (aged 15-18) made their debuts for League One and League Two sides in the first round of the Checkatrade Trophy; ●A total of five young players scored their first senior goals for clubs in the first round of the Checkatrade Trophy: Gillingham – Darren Oldaker; Doncaster Rovers – Alfie Beestin & Riccardo Calder; Crewe Alexandra – Daniel Udoh; and Walsall - Maz Kouhyar; ●Luton Town and Bury both broke club records with their youngest ever appearance makers. Chukwuemeka Obi at 15 years and 86 days for Bury and Connor Tomlinson aged 15 years and 199 days old for Luton Town; ●Ten of AFC Wimbledon’s starting XI featured in their opening Sky Bet League One fixtures; ●Eight English players in the Millwall starting XI had come through the club’s Academy system. CATEGORY 1 CLUBS ●Alex McCarthy played for Southampton in the competition. The goalkeeper has been called up to the England senior squad; ●Scotland international Charlie Adam played for Stoke City at Bradford City; ●England Under-21 internationals Ben Chilwell and Demarai Gray both started for Leicester City at Sheffield United; ●11 English players represented Leicester City throughout the game; ●11 English players represented Southampton at Charlton; ●Teams fielded were predominantly young English players – three with nine English players; ●Almost 75 pr cent of the starting line-ups were young English players aged 21 and under (114 from 154); ●The eligibility criteria requires at least 55 per cent of starting line-ups to be aged 21 and under.
ENGLAND MAN: Alex McCarthy