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Bostik Development League: Wingate & Finchley’s youth will enjoy successful non-league careers, says departing under-23 boss Dean Barker

PUBLISHED: 17:00 17 May 2018

Dean Barker issues instructions from the touchline during a Wingate & Finchley match (pic: Martin Addison).

Dean Barker issues instructions from the touchline during a Wingate & Finchley match (pic: Martin Addison).

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A number of the club’s young players have progressed through the academy set-up into Keith Rowland’s first team during the 2017/18 campaign

Wingate & Finchley and Hastings United players shake hands ahead of the Bostik Development League Cup final (pic: George Sessions).Wingate & Finchley and Hastings United players shake hands ahead of the Bostik Development League Cup final (pic: George Sessions).

Dean Barker is confident a number of the players in the Wingate & Finchley under-23 squad can enjoy successful careers in the game.

The Blues were unable to end the season with a treble after they suffered defeats in the Champion of Champions final last Friday (May 11) and in the Bostik Development League Cup final on Tuesday.

It has still been a campaign to remember for Wingate’s under-23s after they won the Bostik Development North title at a canter earlier this month.

Barker has now departed the north Londoners to take up the managers job at Bostik South Central side Northwood and they play in the division below Keith Rowland’s Blues.

Despite biding farewell to Maurice Rebak Stadium, the former under-23s boss and first-team coach is proud of what the club have achieved over the past 12 months.

“I remember at the start of the season Keith said if we could produce one player for the first-team we would have done really well, but we’ve got quite a few through,” said Barker.

“We have had Luke Alfano, Issac (Ebelebe), Ned (Clarke), Reuben Rabstein and Ben Pattie, so there are a lot of boys pushing for it.

“Even the first-team boys who have dropped down to us and played during the season have given their all.

“We have boys at Wingate aged 21 and 22 who are seen as experienced players, so it is good for our young boys and I hope they can progress over the next few seasons.”

Barker would like to see a lot of the under-23s establish themselves in the Blues first-team during the 2018/19 term in the Bostik Premier (step three of the non-league pyramid).

But even if they can’t, he is sure they’ll enjoy success and believes a handful could make it in the professional game.

“Hopefully some of this squad can kick on and play for the first-team even more next season, but if Keith can’t use them then I hope they keep playing at step four or step five football and keep developing,” said Barker.

“A lot of them are still young and only 17 or 18, but they can play non-league for the next 15 years if they want to, so I am sure a lot of them will have good non-league careers and hopefully a few manage to do even better.”

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