These 'kids' aren't kids, they're young men...and they're good enough, insists Wigan Athletic boss
Paul Cook insisted there were far more positives than negatives to come out of the midweek friendly defeat at AFC Fylde - not least the tantalising glimpse into the future of Wigan Athletic.
While Danny Rowe's late goal was enough to give the home side a 1-0 victory at Mill Farm, Cook was far more interested - and enthused - by the second-half performance of his side, which was a virtual Development Squad.
"There were so many positives out there - more so the young lads than the seniors," acknowledged Cook.
"We thought it would be right to go strong one half and have a look at some of the kids in the second half.
"And I thought the kids did excellent in the way they acquitted themselves.
"By the way, kids is the wrong way to describe them - I shouldn't be describing them as 'kids'.
"They're young men, and they're acquitting themselves really, really well as they make their way in the game.
"The challenge for them now is to make their way into first-team football - whether that be Wigan Athletic or elsewhere on loan.
"But we've certainly got players capable of doing that, and the academy staff should be very proud of the work being done."
With Latics yet to make an outfield signing this summer, Cook hinted there could be some involvement in the season ahead for some of the talented teens.
"I know people speak about development, but maybe sometimes throwing a kid in now and again isn't the worst thing in the world," he said.
"And I'm not saying they're ready to play for a full season.
"But for the odd game, they've shown that they're capable of filling in.
"They're good players - very good players - and this is their time.
"Young Sam Finley won a big tackle in front of the Wigan fans and you saw what it meant for them.
"Joffy (Joe Gelhardt) had a wonderful run and shot, which was only denied by an unbelievable save.
"Charlie Jolley's come up with a miss that we won't ever speak about again - but we all had a bit of fun with him in the dressing room after.
"And that's great for him...because the most important thing is establishing yourself as a senior player.
"And that's what these lads are doing."