'Very gifted' Chukuewmeka backed by Curle to earn more first-team minutes

Caleb Chukwuemeka in a practice match from last season.Caleb Chukwuemeka in a practice match from last season.
Caleb Chukwuemeka in a practice match from last season.
Young striker made his debut at the weekend

Keith Curle has described Caleb Chukwuemeka as a 'very gifted footballer' and says the teenage striker will be given more opportunities in the first-team as and when he earns them.

The 18-year-old got his first taste of senior football at the weekend when he replaced Matty Warburton with six minutes to go as the Cobblers drew 2-2 with AFC Wimbledon.

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Chukwuemeka was regularly on target for the youth team and Curle plans to gradually ease him into the senior side, although as with any player, he must earn his opportunities.

"He had a period of time back in the youth team to make sure he had the fundamentals in place to make sure he had what he needed to join the first-team," said Curle.

"He had a taste of it last season and I felt he still needed further development but that wasn't all technical because I think, technically, the lad is a very, very gifted footballer.

"It's the fundamentals, in and out of possession, that are the areas he needs to work on but the first thing he did was to work in the youth team with Jon Brady.

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"Jon is another coach that's got a good understanding of what's required from Caleb to put the foundations in place and to create that hunger where he wants to be up training with us.

"The lad has taken his opportunity and I'm sure he will get further opportunities in the future."

Chukwuemeka was the latest academy player to be handed his debut by Curle, following the likes of Scott Pollock, Jay Williams and Morgan Roberts.

"We're starting a new season in a new division and straightaway we've given a debut to a youth product," Curle added.

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"It shows the depth that we've got within the squad because if we identified talent, we will use it.

"Yes we've gone up a division but we're still prepared, as and when earned, to have youth players training with us and they will get chances to play."

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