The Luton Town production line is working overtime at the minute and manager Gary Brabin has hailed the club’s youth set-up as Adam Watkins' week gets better and better with his his first England call-up.
After his boss called the 19-year-old emergence this summer a “revelation”, he netted on his full league bow as the Hatters hammered Southport 5-1 on Saturday. The midfielder then marked the signing of a new contract that will keep him at Kenilworth Road until 2013 by keeping his place for Tuesday's 1-1 draw at Mansfield.
And to cap it off, today (Wednesday) England C coach Paul Fairclough named him and fellow Town midfielder Robbie Willmott in his squad for the September 6 friendly against India at Dagenham & Redbridge.
In his Monday press conference, Brabin said: “We’ve got Adam Watkins who really has blossomed in pre-season. He’s a level headed kid but I keep telling him that he’s done nothing yet.
“He’s had a fantastic pre-season, scored on his first start and it’s a really good promising start but he’s got a lot to learn.
“That goes for the rest of the squad. We’ve got other players you’ve not seen who we are working with daily.
“We’ll try and make decisions that we feel are right for them, moving forward.
“He is a smashing lad. I can’t speak more highly of him and I know his parents keep him in tow as well.
“He’s got loads of ability but I don’t want people to get too carried away at the moment. They’ve got to trust my judgement.
“Just because someone comes on as sub for 20 minutes and plays well, they think he should be playing every week, and that’s not the case.
“Different players are affected in different ways. At the moment Adamis in and around the squad, he got a start on merit on Saturday, scored a great goal but he’s not getting any favours off me getting in the squad, he is there onmerit.”
Fellow youngsters Alex Lacey and JJ O’Donnell are currently on a month’s loan at Cambridge City and Brabin admitted that he takes a keen interest in the development of all Luton starlets.
“It’s one of the things I do genuinely care about,” he said. “I know it’s a results based business and, at the end of the day, I’ll be judged on that.
But whenever I go into a job, I do all the things I believe in and that’s right from the top to the bottom.
“I try and take time out for everyone connected with the club and there is a fantastic history with the youth set-up at this club.
“There are some smashing young players and a lot of the time it’s easy for people to get swept away with the Tuesday and Saturday games and focussing just on results, but that’s not the case with me.
“Yes, I give that 100 per cent but I’malso concerned about the rest of the squad.We’ve got a good development squad at the moment.
“We’ve loaned out JJ O’Donnell and Alex Lacey to Cambridge City and I’mon the phone to them every other day to make sure they’re setting the same standards for that club as they should do this club.
“The reports coming back are good for them.” City boss Gary Roberts has said he’d like to keep the duo at Milton Road for an extended period.
“There’s a possibility of extending the loans,” admitting the Lilywhites manager.
“They’re getting games and furthering their progress with us.
“The likelihood is we’ll be offered them for another month and I’d look forward to that.We’re a team at the right end of the table, so that helps them as well.”