While we can expect some of the youngsters to get action against Bolton in the Capital One Cup today, based on what Steve Holland has to say we're hardly going to field a youth team and not mind should we get knocked out:
We have a small group of players training every day with our first team players and that alone is so beneficial. They’re training and pitting their wits on a day-to-day basis against some of the best players in the world. That can only accelerate their development.
That ultimately does need to be transferred into matches, but the team will be picked as it’s always picked: on its merits, given the overall considerations as to the weekly process we are in and, ultimately, the team we think is capable of winning against Bolton.
We’re hopeful whoever gets the opportunity tonight will stake a claim for a place long-term. That’s the objective – everybody playing well and pushing for a place.
I'm inclined to suggest that refusing to pick a side too weak to do its job is A Good Thing. While the club can afford to get knocked out of the Capital One Cup -- there are much bigger fish to fry this season, after all -- playing kids without the expectation of victory runs the risk of building up a culture that isn't entirely based around winning games. That doesn't sound very Jose Mourinho, does it?
I'd still expect some of the youngsters to see action -- perhaps a start for Kurt Zouma? -- combined with the veteran players who so far have only been given fringe time. And if things are going well, there are likely to be substitute appearances for the rest of our prized youth players. No matter what, we'll know that if the kids take the pitch, they're ready to.