RICHARD Dryden, York City’s head of academy coaching, reckons 17-year-old striker Tom Chamberlain’s first-team debut will provide a fillip for all young players at the club.

The second-year apprentice came on as an 82nd-minute replacement for Lewis Montrose during last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Exeter.

With the likes of fellow home-grown teenagers Tom Platt, Tom Allan, Mike Atkinson, Chris Dickinson and Harry Coates having also played for the first team or been members of matchday squads already this season, Dryden feels the decision to persevere with junior football at Bootham Crescent during the eight-year Conference era, when central funding was reduced and then withdrawn, is now being justified.

City boss Nigel Worthington has a track record of giving young players opportunities, having handed the likes of current England striker Rickie Lambert and PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle their Football League debuts.

Ex-Southampton and Birmingham City defender Dryden is understandably in full support of such a policy, saying: “It’s great to see lads who have been here a while work their way up and get a chance in the first team.

“It gives everybody a lift, not just the under-18s, but right down to those at under-nine level.

“Tom Allan has been in there, Harry Coates has made the bench and Tom Platt has played nearly every match since the manager has been here. Now Tom (Chamberlain) has had his chance and he did very well because he did what was asked of him, which was pressurise the ball and run at people.

“There are two or three more pushing to be involved too and that proves the system works, which I think is important in the lower leagues.

“We’ve got good coaches right the way down the age groups and, if we cast that scouting net out a bit wider, I think we can keep bringing good players through.”

Dryden added that deciding which players are ready to make the step up to senior duty can depend on circumstance with Chamberlain profiting from the unavailability of forwards Richard Cresswell, Wes Fletcher and Ryan Bowman.

But the 44-year-old ex-Worcester City manager added that youngsters also need to demonstrate the right mentality before being readied for Football League action.

“You are sometimes looking at what you need on a game by game basis,” Dryden said. “With Tom Allan, he’s 6ft 4in, strong, quick, left-footed and can head a ball so you think that’s not a bad centre-half for his age and we are hoping he can push on and make himself better.

“Tom Chamberlain is lean, athletic, quick and can potentially get in behind the back four. We also have a couple of midfielders doing well too.

“Harry Coates is big but can pass the ball and little Cameron Murray’s movement is fantastic. Sometimes you also look at a player’s reaction when they give the ball away.

“You want to see them try to win it back as quickly as they can or, if not, make it harder straight away for the opposition to break the team down. I don’t think that side of the game is something you are born with so you have to work on it.”

Dryden also stressed that the reaction of a young player who returns to serving his apprenticeship after a taste of first-team action requires close attention.

Two days after returning from Devon, Chamberlain was working on retaining possession with the rest of the U18 squad on Monday before heading for college in the afternoon.

“It can be a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’,” Dryden admitted.

“But the attitude of the boys who are getting a taste of things with the first team has been spot on.

“They have to stay level-headed and grounded because they are still engaged in a learning process. There are not too many players who play a full season at 17 or 18 in any league.

“I made my debut at 17 under Bobby Gould at Bristol Rovers. I played three games and thought I did really well but, all of a sudden, I was out of the team.

“I asked him why and he told me I couldn’t play all the time and that I had to rest and learn my trade. Most of the top managers in the world rest young players.

“Manchester United rested Ryan Giggs at that age so, if it was good enough for him, it will be good enough for Tom Chamberlain.”.

Top-line notes for August strummed by Oyebanjo

LANRE Oyebanjo has won his first Press Player of the Month award.

The City right-back, currently enjoying his third season at Bootham Crescent, took the August honours after finishing two points clear of nearest rivals Chris Smith and Ashley Chambers.

All three players, however, failed to add to their points tallies during last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Exeter.

Lewis Montrose was our man of the match at that game, collecting three points towards both the Press Player of the Month and Player of the Year contests in the process.

The other points went to Ryan Jarvis (two) and Craig Clay (one) as our second and third-highest rated players respectively at St James Park.

Montrose and debutant George Taft, meanwhile, shared the two Player of the Month bonus points on offer after finishing joint-top in our readers’ man-of-the-match poll.

To be in with a chance of presenting the September Press Player of the Month with a framed photograph before a City home game, vote for your man of the match from today’s game against AFC Wimbledon or tweeting your choice to @daveflettpress

The Press Player of the Year latest standings: Smith 7 points, Oyebanjo 6, Jarvis 5, McGurk 5, Chambers 4, Clay 4, Montrose 3, Davies 1, Parslow 1.

The Press Player of the Month standings: Oyebanjo 9, Chambers 7, Smith 7, Jarvis 5, McGurk 5, Clay 4, Montrose 4, Parslow 3, Davies 2, Fyfield 1, Taft 1.

Goals: Jarvis 4.

Assists: Bowman 1, Clay 1, Cresswell 1, Smith 1.

Bad boys: Montrose, Smith both two yellow cards; Bowman one red; Chambers one yellow, Clay one yellow, Coulson one yellow, Cresswell one yellow, Oyebanjo one yellow, Platt one yellow.