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Home / News / INTERVIEW / Usman: "Managing Expectations Is Important"

Usman: "Managing Expectations Is Important"

Usman: "Managing Expectations Is Important"

By Riley Finch

The Gate’s U23’s have been flying this season, losing just once in eight matches and sitting just three points off the top of the table.

Boasting the third best defensive record in the league and scoring 19 times in eight games, what the secret behind the Margate U23’s electric start?

Manager, Salim Usman, now in his second campaign said: “It’s been a really positive start for the boys.

“Recruitment has been difficult but we had a good core from the youth system and the players we have brought in have been excellent.

“The boy’s attitude to learning and determination to work hard for each other has been absolutely spot on this season.”

Results on the pitch are important but the added pressure of mentoring the young players as well as turning them in to a winning side can be a balance hard to come by.

With six wins in the last eight, it seems as though Usman has found that balance well.

“As young players trying to improve on their development its crucial for them to make sure they understand that it’s a team sport.

“You need work ethic, discipline and willingness to work on areas they need to work on.

“We set up to make sure we could compete and that’s really important for us, making sure we compete every game and the results have come our way.

“We aren’t too focused on winning, more the performance.

But the rewards always come with the win.”

With the under-23’s doing as well as they are of course, many Margate fans will want to know if they will be seeing any fresh faces in the first-team this season.

However, Usman is in no rush to push his players on the first-team and managing those expectations have become a key role in mentoring his young side.

“Young players always look to push on and get to the first-team.

“We’ve been honest with the boys and told them the road won’t be easy and I think with our squad the most important thing is development.

“If opportunities come then that’s a bonus but keeping them grounded and making sure they understand that is key.

“We struggled to keep players at the club because of other interest from clubs, it’s hard for them to pass up.

“We’ve been luck with the boys that have stayed, they believe in what we can offer them.

“We don’t promise first-team football, there’s opportunities there, but it has to be earned and we are lucky we have a good bunch of boys who get that.”

Usman went on to add however: “If the opportunity presents itself we need to make sure they are ready for that.

One player who has already made that step up is Vinnie Bowman who has made a few appearances off the bench and is currently training with the first-team.

Having worked with Margate’s newest young talent, Usman had this to say.

“With Vinnie, he’s a good lad and he’s very competitive.

“He’s a very exciting player for sure.

“The opportunities with the first team has been great for him, they really like what he’s about.

“Hopefully he can continue to develop and its really exciting to see young people be given that opportunity.

Almost halfway through the season, the bar has been set and expectations are high for our under-23’s to finish the season not only near the top but perhaps to go all the way.

“At the start of the season we just wanted to compete but the boys have set their standards.

“We concentrate on taking each game as it comes, we lost to Ramsgate and the boys reacted really well to that set-back and it shows our character.

“I have no doubt we will be in and around the top come the end of the season and if we go all the way it would be excellent.”

The 23’s return to action on Friday night at Hartsdown Park as they welcome Staplehurst Monarchs for a league game, with kick-off scheduled for 7:45pm.

Thursday, 30 November 2023
By MFC Media

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