Raven tips Ca­ley Jags kids to hit heights in first team

ICT: Formerde­fend­er­saysy­oung­ster­scan­be­back­bo­ne­of­fu­ture­suc­cess

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - SPORT -

Ca­ley This­tle’s ‘class of 2018’ will prove vi­tal in driv­ing the club for­ward, ac­cord­ing to fans’ favourite David Raven.

Daniel MacKay is the head­line name of the group, hav­ing made a huge im­pact in his de­but sea­son, but the ta­lented group of fresh-faced play­ers can pro­vide the back­bone of fu­ture In­ver­ness suc­cess.

Jack Brown and Camer- on Harper also tasted first­team ac­tion un­der John Robert­son, while Gabriel Hast­ings, Roddy Kennedy, Kieran Chalmers, Roddy MacGre­gor, Ryan Fyffe, Harry Ni­col­son and Ross Gunn com­plete the set.

MacKay is the club’s youngest scorer and a Scot­land school­boys in­ter­na­tional, where he played along­side Chalmers.

They are all part of the un­der-17s side which was so suc­cess­ful in the Club Acad­emy Scot­land League Sys­tem this sea­son and all signed se­nior deals last month.

Raven, who coached some of the group at Ca­ley This­tle, said: “They’ve got mas­sive fu­tures. The club needs some youth team guys that can kick on and I think they will do it.

“It’s the group that might just push the club for­ward – they’ve not had that since Liam Pol­worth and Ryan Christie.”

Long-serv­ing play­ers like Gary War­ren and Carl Tre­marco have also as­sisted with some of the club’s younger teams and Raven feels the Ca­ley Jags need to do all they can to keep them around at the end of their ca­reers in a coach­ing ca­pac­ity, de­spite War­ren be­ing told he is free to find an­other club.

He added: “They’re the kind of guys you don’t re­alise how lucky you are to have them un­til they’ve gone.

“They’ve got to have some­thing about them to stay in the game for so long.

“It gives guys com­ing through some­one to look up to.

“They are ben­e­fit­ing be­cause they’re gain­ing ex­pe­ri­ence but the club is ben­e­fit­ing mas­sively from it. It’s a no-brainer for me.

“It’s one of the rea­sons I moved on, be­cause there was noth­ing at all there if I wanted to stay in foot­ball.”

Raven left the club in Jan­uary this year, mov­ing to Wrex­ham in the Na­tional League.

He was let go at the end of last sea­son and is on the look­out for coach­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in the game. Premier League cham­pi­ons Manch­ester City will start their ti­tle de­fence at Ar­se­nal.

The 2018-19 fix­tures, an­nounced yes­ter­day, handed Pep Guardi­ola’s team an Emi­rates Sta­dium opener on the week­end of Au­gust 11-12 – a match which will also mark the Premier League bow of the Gun­ners’ re­centlyap­pointed Span­ish boss Unai Emery.

City do not face an­other top-six side un­til the trip to Liver­pool in Oc­to­ber.

Games against new­lypro­moted trio Wolves, Cardiff and Ful­ham are part of a se­quence which also in­cludes Hud­der­s­field, New­cas­tle and Brighton.

It is a sim­i­lar story for neighbours United, who be­gin at home to Le­ices­ter.

The 2017-18 run­ner­sup have Tot­ten­ham at home in their third game, with Brighton, Burn­ley, Wat­ford, Wolves, West Ham and New­cas­tle their other early sea­son op­po­nents.

Af­ter host­ing West Ham, Jur­gen Klopp’s Liver­pool face Tot­ten­ham, Chelsea and Manch­ester City in a run which also in­cludes Crys­tal Palace, Brighton, Le­ices­ter and Southamp­ton.

Tot­ten­ham, who have un­til to­day to de­cide whether to re­turn to Wem­b­ley next sea­son while work on their new sta­dium is com­pleted, have been given an away opener, start­ing their sec­ond suc­ces­sive cam­paign at New­cas­tle.

North Lon­don ri­vals Ar­se­nal face a tough first two games with­out Arsene Wenger.

Af­ter the Gun­ners host the cham­pi­ons, the team now man­aged by Emery are at Chelsea.

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