Rotherham United Lead Youth Development Phase Coach Rob Poulter admits he is delighted by the commitment and professionalism shown by the club’s academy players in the face of a challenging year.
Like all sports nationwide, academy football fell victim to the covid-19 pandemic and the players were faced with the task of adapting to a new normal during their time in lockdown.
Poulter stressed that a commitment to physical fitness is something that the whole football club prides itself on and the dedication to maintain this ethos shown by the players is something that really pleased him during the summer months.
“They all had programs to follow like every other football club did. Doing it in their own time, off their own backs without their mates with them can be very challenging because having someone there to drive you along can help massively.
“Having to do it on their own shows a lot about their character and how much they do want it. Looking all the way down the age groups, they’ve all come back in really good shape.
“From the first-team all the way down, that is something we pride ourselves on, being fit and being in shape are the principles this football club holds highly.”
“It’s been a test, but sometimes, throwing different things at the lads is something that can challenge them and take them out their comfort zone a little bit.
“We're in massively challenging times, but I can’t fault anyone, and all the work that has been put in by every single one of them has been really appreciated.”
Rotherham United under-18s were second in the Youth Alliance League standings before their 2019/20 campaign was cut short due to the pademic.
The young guns though, have picked up where they left off last term and have made an impressive start to the new season.
After winning their opening game at Burton Albion, the Millers convinvingly saw off Bradford City last Saturday to climb to the top of the early Youth Alliance standings.
The academy are next in action this weekend, when they take on Huddersfield in a Yorkshire derby.