Charlton boss explains plan for promising teenage defender

Charlie Barker is set to step up to U23 level this season – with Charlton manager Lee Bowyer full of praise for the 17-year-old centre-back.

A dearth of options in the middle of defence has seen the teenager start in Saturday’s EFL Cup win at Swindon Town and last week’s EFL Trophy tie at AFC Wimbledon.

Charlton are missing club captain Jason Pearce (knee) and saw Tom Lockyer recently quit for Luton Town. Naby Sarr was released at the end of last season.

“Charlie has done well but we will make signings,” said Bowyer on Monday morning. “I think his next step would probably be to go to play for the U23s – not the U18s.

“He needs to go and play against young men, if you like, and go and develop. That’s not anything against him – it’s not like he’s done anything wrong.

“He’s done exceptionally well. I can’t praise him enough but at the same time it would be a different game week in and week out. He will dip in and out with us, he’ll train with us here and there.”




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