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Youngster Thomas Is Bob-On

Teenage defender stakes a claim as Clarets come up second best

12 January 2019

Steve Stone plans to give Bobby Thomas further chances following an impressive debut at under-23 level.

Thomas, 17, made his first start in Burnley’s 1-0 defeat at Barnsley.

And while it was a poor collective performance from the Clarets, Thomas seized his chance with Stone planning to keep the central defender – a second-year scholar –­ in and around his squad to help fast-track his development.

“He looked strong and commanded whatever he did. I had to keep him on him to get high up the pitch, but he seems like he takes information on board,” said the Under-23s’ boss.

“I’ve liked what he’s about since I’ve come in here and that’s why he’s in my team.

“I want him around this team until the end of the season so when hopefully he’s here next season – if given a contract and all goes well – he’s got an understanding of what the under-23s are like.

“And it’s the same for Matty. I’m going to try and push him.”

Left-back Rain, a first-year scholar, also got his first taste of the U23 Professional Development League as the Clarets suffered a second successive 1-0 defeat.

His chance came following Ali Koiki’s loan move to Swindon Town, while an injury to Olly Younger and Jimmy Dunne’s move to Sunderland – after he topped up his match fitness with a run-out in the previous game – paved the way for Thomas to feature.

Matty Rain joined the Clarets from Liverpool

But Stone refused to point to a lack of experience or a difficult playing surface at the Barnsley Academy – where a bobbly pitch did little to help the flow of football – as a reason for a seventh defeat of the campaign.

He added: “We make no excuse for the fact that the pitch was poor.

“They had more desire than us and their will to win and their understanding of how to play on that pitch was a lot better than ours.

“For 35 minutes we didn’t adapt to anything we needed to.

“They got the goal and looked like they could have got two or three more early on until we settled down and in the second half if it was a much more even game, although we still didn’t really create too many chances.

“You look for endeavour from players and will and heart and all the thing I know as a player you need to become a professional footballer.

“There were 35 minutes of none of that and 65 minutes of a bit more. But they have to realise that from the start. If you’re a goal or two down the game could be over.”

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