“We Can Be Proud” – Marc Bridge-Wilkinson Following Liverpool U18s FA Youth Cup Exit

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Liverpool Under 18s were eliminated from the FA Youth Cup following a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Leeds United at the quarter-final stage on Thursday night. 

Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s side were without a host of key players who had played a major role in guiding the mini Reds to this stage of the competition and within a shot of a final-four place with Millwall. 

Jayden Danns, Lewis Koumas, Trey Nyoni and Amara Nallo were among those not involved in Yorkshire as Trent Kone-Doherty’s late strike proved to only be a consolation.


Speaking to Bridge-Wilkinson pitchside at Elland Road, the Liverpool youth boss remained proud of his side and of course, the academy after a remarkable week.

On the game, he said: “It was a difficult game, I thought Leeds were very good, well structured. Our lads stuck at it, didn’t give up, kept fighting. We struggled in certain moments of the game. We didn’t really threaten their goal an awful lot and if you don’t do that you don’t win games. Disappointing, the lads kept going and they gave everything they’ve got and we can be proud of that.”

On the selection headache: “In youth football, you can only ever take it one game at a time because you never know who’s going to be available, who’s going to be fit, who’s going to be with you. The group we put out tonight we felt we could’ve won the game. But yeah, still development to do, still work to do.”

On the week at Kirkby: “It’s been really good, it’s been positive. It’s a great week for the academy, a great week for the boys who have managed to get an opportunity with the first team and done really well. But that doesn’t take away from where we are today, these boys will learn a lot and maybe in a month, a year, they will want to get the same opportunity.”


On the absentees: “The reason that we’re here and doing the job that we do is to support the first team try and get young players an opportunity at first team level. It’s not a disappointment when players go there and we lose them. Does it affect us in terms of results and performance? Yes, it does but that’s but that’s what we’re here for.”

On the pride following the impact of Danns and Koumas: “It’s not so much about me. It’s about everyone, it’s a team effort. Everyone is important in helping these boys in giving them an opportunity and a platform to develop. 

On the communication around the pathway: “I speak to Vitor (Matos) and Barry (Lewtas) a lot as well, it’s a constant dialogue between us, Alex (Inglethorpe) is involved as well, Pep (Lijnders) is there. The players are always moving between groups, it’s not always easy to manage at times but it gives opportunity. On any certain day in training who knows who’s going to get the next one.”

On the FA Youth Cup campaign: “Yeah it was a really nice performance (vs Arsenal), the second half against Fulham was really a really good performance as well, the Fleetwood game was a different type of performance, we had to fight and scrap and knuckle through it, and obviously we scored a late winner in that one. We can be proud of all the performances in all the games. Obviously, we’d have liked to have won this evening but we don’t shy away from that fact, fair play to Leeds I think they were the better team and they deserved to go through.”


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