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Scott Parker: 'Fulham must hold on to homegrown talent'

Scott Parker: 'Fulham must hold on to homegrown talent'
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Teenager Fabio Carvalho was on target for the relegated Cottagers at Southampton.

Scott Parker insisted homegrown talent has to be part of Fulham's future as they prepare to face Manchester United in the Premier League on Tuesday.

Teenager Fabio Carvalho scored his maiden club goal on his first club start as the Cottagers lost 3-1 at Southampton on Saturday, it was a small consolation for the club whose relegation fate was sealed last week.

Fulham's academy has produced a number of quality players in recent years, although the likes of Moussa Dembele, Patrick Roberts, Harvey Elliott and Ryan Sessegnon have all made early moves elsewhere.

After the Southampton defeat Parker said Carvalho has a bright future, and on Monday spoke of the importance of bringing more players through from the academy.

Parker said: "I think the players mentioned there (above) are players that have extreme talent that we recognise and that unfortunately for some reason or another we've not managed to keep hold of.

"Throughout – certainly since I've been here – (I) have always been an advocate of young players first and foremost. Not just because it's the right thing to do, the players have to be good enough, and the young players that have quality and show that (have to) bring something to the first team.

"Fabio is a player that has done that over the last two or three months training with us, probably in the last six or seven weeks (he) has gone from just training with first team players and happy to be there a little bit to a player that has shown that he wants to get in this team and he can help us. I think you could see that in his performance against Southampton.

"(He) scored a goal which we're in need of and he's come into the team and managed to do that and his overall performance was very good.

"I think always I believe that at a football club your academy should be a large part of that and bringing these players through is paramount really so it's a good sign."

Parker added: "Young, homegrown players always need to be a part of Fulham's future and  believe this club needs to have those sorts of players around.

"Only if they're good enough and only if they have the quality. It's not a free ticket but at this club we need to use these players and, if they're good enough, we'll promote and use them."

This season's relegation was Fulham's second under Parker, he took over midway through their disappointing 2018-19 season.

The west London club were widely criticised two years ago when they finished firmly in the bottom three despite spending almost £100million on transfers, but for Parker, this season felt different.

He explained: "It definitely feels different. There is a disappointment around the club because of the consequences of what has happened.

"You're not really going to have a real guide on this probably until the start of next season because at this present moment in time, seven or eight of the players won't be here. We'll have seven or eight coming back.

"The real test will be at the start of pre-season. Let's see where everyone is, and where everyone's mindset is and how they are feeling about things. It's a bit more mixed. But all good."

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Fulham manager Scott Parker reacts on May 10, 2021.
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