PAUL Bodin is hopeful that the number of youth-team graduates making an impression on the Swindon Town first team will help attract the stars of tomorrow to the County Ground.
This season Miles Storey, Nathan Thompson, Louis Thompson, Aaron Oakley and Leigh Bedwell – all products of the Robins’ development programme - have been involved in Paolo Di Canio’s matchday squads.
The likes of Storey and Nathan Thompson have had an even bigger impact, positively influencing games at senior level on a regular basis, and, with so many clubs after a tiny pool of talented youngsters, Bodin thinks the evidence of natural progression with the Robins can only help in the pursuit of young players.
Using the specific example of Storey, he said: “I don’t think he thought he could come on and do as much as he did in such a short space of time. We’re delighted for him.
“Seeing the players involved on the pitch gives us a boost as a youth department.
“The vast majority of our younger players in the academy would have been there against Villa watching.
“What a boost for an eight-year-old to look up and see Miles Storey, who was in our youth team last year, playing in the first team in front of 14,500 people against Premier League opposition and scoring two fantastic goals.
“It would be a great boost to them. They can say ‘I want to be like Miles Storey, I’m going to work hard’. It’s a huge, huge boost.
“When we’re recruiting people we can say ‘there’s Miles Storey in the first-team squad, there’s Nathan Thompson, there’s Leigh Bedwell.
“If a player’s got a choice between two clubs when they see the evidence it might be the swing that we need.”