Motherwell to maintain youth focus

Motherwell manager Stuart McCall speaks to the media ahead of facing Fulham. Picture: SNSMotherwell manager Stuart McCall speaks to the media ahead of facing Fulham. Picture: SNS
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall speaks to the media ahead of facing Fulham. Picture: SNS
MOTHERWELL manager Stuart McCall will maintain the club’s focus on producing young players despite their difficulties in attracting major offers, a fact that comes into sharp focus when Fulham visit Fir Park on Saturday.

Fulham now have two former Motherwell players in their ranks - recent £11 million signing Ross McCormack and Shaun Hutchinson, who left Fir Park under freedom of contract this summer with no compensation applicable because he is 23.

Motherwell received just £120,000 when McCormack joined Cardiff in 2008 and Football Association rules mean there will be no solidarity payment from Leeds following the Scotland striker’s latest move.

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Two of their best youth products of recent years, Jamie Murphy and Mark Reynolds, both left for a similar sum but McCall shrugged off the apparent cross-Border inequality in the British transfer market that was highlighted by McCormack’s move.

“That’s life, I think you have got to go down to England and do well and then you get the big money,” McCall said.

“But we saw Ryan Gauld recently go for unbelievable money [about £3million].

“We could have cashed in for Shaun 18 months ago for £250,000 but his two tackles alone in that last game against Aberdeen probably made that money for finishing second. So I think it was the right decision, unless you are going to get money that the club can’t knock back.

“We have got to produce the talent in the first place. Dundee United have shown over the last few years with [David] Goodwillie and [Johnny] Russell [that you can get good money] and Aberdeen have had a few young lads move on.

“We have some good young ones in the system at 13, 14, 15. We are happy with the way things have gone pre-season with the young ones like Lee Erwin and Dom Thomas. When you have a squad our size there is always a chance that the young ones will play.”

Motherwell did sell Henri Anier this summer for a fee of about £300,000 and McCall is yet to replace the striker, although David Clarkson remains on trial.

McCall, who was set to travel to Wales to watch potential Europa League opponents Stjarnan defend a 4-0 lead at Bangor, said: “I don’t think we’ll get anyone in prior to the European game. We have David Clarkson who we will make a decision on in the near future.

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“Obviously we need to try to replace Hutchy at centre-half and we have lost two strikers, Faddy and Henri, and with Craig Moore out until Christmas we need to strengthen.”