Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo insists he will stick with the kids – but stressed patience will be required to see results.
The head coach gave debuts to five players in Wednesday’s 2-1 Carabao Cup defeat at Villa – right-sided defender Dion Sanderson, 19 and midfielder Chem Campbell, 16, from the start and striker Benny Ashley-Seal, 20, midfielder Terry Taylor, 18, and 22-year-old defensive midfielder Flavio Cristovao from the bench, while Taylor Perry, 18, made his first start.
Previously, Nuno has handed chances to Academy graduates Bright Enobakhare, Morgan Gibbs-White, Connor Ronan, Donovan Wilson, Oskar Buur Rasmussen, Elliot Watt, Niall Ennis, Ryan Giles, Pedro Goncalves and Max Kilman.
“We are trying to build players and make them grow,” said Nuno. “Having a small squad, they are going to be involved in every training session. We count on them, but it’s step by step.
“They need to grow and need to perform. You can’t expect them to immediately give you the response you want, that takes time and takes patience – but most of all, we believe in them.
“Having ambition in the young players is what will make us stronger in the future.
“Knowing they want to be in the first-team group, they have to compete well in the Under-23s.
“They don’t only have to play well but train every day and in every moment in the training sessions with Mark (Kennedy, caretaker Under-23s coach) and Scott (Sellars, Academy manager). All of them have this ambition because we trust them.
“This is the philosophy we are trying to build – we want to create an identity.
“The academy are doing a fantastic job, the young boys are playing in the same shape as us and are trying to find the same lines, with the same approach.”
Nuno insisted it was the right decision to blood the youngsters in midweek, and believes they had the ideal learning experience in a local derby in front of almost 35,000 at Villa Park, then before a crowd of 60,000 against Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday.
“What better atmosphere and environment will you have than at Villa in front of 35,000 people and a big, big game?” said the boss.
“This is when we want our young players to perform and give answers, knowing we have to be patient and we have to be careful with the analysis we have on them, but this way they will be ready because this is the reality.
“We’re going to play tomorrow at the Emirates in front of 60,000, so they have to be ready.”
Nuno wants to see the homegrown players feature regularly in the first team in future.
“Of course, having this ambition in the young players is what can make us strong in the future.
“They want to be inside the first-team group, so they have to compete well in the Under-23s – not only in games but every moment of every training session.
“Having this ambition, I think all of them have it because we trust them.”