Charlton AthleticSport

“A bad experience can set them back” – Charlton boss Lee Bowyer explains why he didn’t go with youth in defence

Lee Bowyer says he will only use Charlton’s young players when the time is right – because a bad experience can affect their careers.

There were calls on social media for Charlie Barker, 17, to be brought into the backline after the 4-2 loss at Burton Albion last week.

But Bowyer persisted with Chris Gunter and Darren Pratley – neither natural central defenders – for Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Ipswich Town.

Ryan Inniss, Akin Famewo, Jason Pearce and Deji Oshilaja have all be unavailable to the Addicks boss.

Gillingham v Charlton Athletic SkyBet League One, MEMS Priestfield Stadium, 21 November 2020

Bowyer was confident the Burton reverse was an aberration – with Gunter and keeper Ben Amos both punished for errors in the opening stages.

“Ben and Chris will never make those mistakes ever again. We gave them a 2-0 headstart in 15 minutes.

“I knew it wouldn’t happen again. The pair will never make those mistakes again for as long as they play.

“Taking into account that I’ve got no centre-halves who are ready to start and they slotted in there – a full-back and central midfielder – against a very good Ipswich team. They were excellent.

“But I never really doubted it. They are two experienced pros who know the game inside out. They did what I thought they’d do.

“Charlie Barker did great when he came in but I think he’d have found it difficult against Norwood, he’s a very good striker.

“I see the players every day. Charlie probably would’ve done well but he also might not have done as well. You don’t have to use them young lads when they are not quite ready – I don’t see the point in doing it because it can affect them in the long haul if they have a bad experience.”

PHOTOS: KEITH GILLARD

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