Praise for young defenders as Owen nullified
Development Squad coach Simon Weatherstone praised his young charges who kept Michael Owen under wraps to help the Clarets to a 2-1 friendly win over Stoke City.
Owen partnered Mamady Sidibe in City’s attack in Tuesday’s behind-closed-doors game at the Britannia Stadium.
But the former England international made minimal impact against a young Burnley back four made up of Luke O’Neill, Joseph Mills, Kevin Long and first-year professional Alex Coleman.
“The experienced lads helped the few Development squad players who played and I thought they equipped themselves very well,” said Weatherstone.
“They adapted very well against the full international opposition they were playing against.
“We didn’t know what their team was. We had a rough idea that it would be a mix of experience and a few Development players.
“But when you come up against one of the most cherished players there has been in the English game in Michael Owen it’s a great test for the lads, especially someone like Al Coleman.
“Owen is someone who has done it at the highest level so it’s a great experience for him and I thought he came through it very strongly.
“Everyone did very well. Kevin Long led it well, it was great to see Millsy breaking from the back and I was really pleased to see Luke O’Neill getting on the ball.”
Two first-half goals from Sam Vokes were enough to give the Clarets victory with United States international Brek Shea heading one back from a Charlie Adam after the break.
Vokes later limped off following a bang on the foot, but senior men Brian Jensen, Brian Stock, Marvin Bartley, Martin Paterson and new recruit Dane Richards all completed 90 minutes on a productive afternoon which also saw Cameron Howieson add to his big-game experience.
“All round it was a pretty good performance,” Weatherstone added. “Going in at the break 2-0 we wanted to build on that in the second half.
“It didn’t quite happen straight away and 2-1 looks like a bit of a battle, which it was for a while. But it’s great experience to come through and win.
“Although there’s not three points or a cup victory to show for it at the end of the game, it’s important that the lads put in a good performance because it breeds good habits for when they do it in the real thing in the first team when it really matters.”