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Whatever you think of the Carabao Cup it is the best finishing school for young British talent

While Premier League opportunities are few and far between prospects get a chance to shine in the cup

The apprentice became the master last night, if only for 90 minutes plus penalties.

Frank Lampard’s Derby side beat his former boss Jose Mourinho’s illustrious Man United side sending the Premier League giants into meltdown.

All the talk post-game was of Mourinho’s comments on Paul Pogba being demoted from the vice-captaincy- but it should have been about the wealth of young British talent shining in the Carabao Cup.


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Want any tips Jose?

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Want any tips Jose?

Lampard has made a bright start to life as a manager but he must have been fearing his heaviest defeat after watching Juan Mata break the deadlock only two minutes into the game.

But in testament to the work he has done in the short amount of time he’s been in the job his young Derby side bounced back to enter the 90th minute 2-1 up.

No-one can plan for Mourinho x Marouane Fellaini 90th-minute hatchet job and yet Derby held their nerve to win 8-7 on penalties at Old Trafford.

Lamps made it his mission to bring the age of the Derby squad down and he is blooding some excellent young talent – the Carabao Cup gives the players the perfect platform to show what they’re made of.

Harry Wilson – a Liverpool fan holding up five fingers when he’s scores at Old Trafford. Salty.

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Harry Wilson – a Liverpool fan holding up five fingers when he’s scores at Old Trafford. Salty.

Last season the average of the Derby squad was around 29 years old, Lampard has already brought it down to roughly 23.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Marcus Rashford are toiling away desperate for 20 minutes of a league game here and there having reached a World Cup semi-final with England in the summer.

A cursory glance at the Derby team from last night and the names of Harry Wilson, Mason Mount and Mason Bennett all stand out.

Three exciting young talents trusted by their manager to start as the creative line in a 4-2-3-1 in a huge match at Old Trafford reflects both Lampard’s confidence as manager and what can be achieved when youth products are given a chance.

Scoring in a penalty shootout at Old Trafford aged 19. Cajones.

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Scoring in a penalty shootout at Old Trafford aged 19. Cajones.

Wilson (21) scored an absolute stunning free-kick to draw Derby level while Mount (19) had an impressive showing in the no.10 role with five shots, one key pass, the third most touches of any Derby player and a converted penalty.

If Mount had stayed at Chelsea do you think he would be getting this kind of exposure ahead of RLC?

The Carabao Cup has plenty of critics with some managers considering a distraction from the league or European campaigns and fans falling out of love with it because of the ridiculous amount of squad changes.

Mourinho’s post match quotes were telling in what he thought of the competition, “The Carabao Cup is not a worry any more – we don’t play until next season. It is the minor competition we are involved in.”

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It wasn’t just Lampard that was placing his trust in youth.

Phil Foden was handed his first start of the season and scored as Man City humped Oxford 3-0.

Fulham played Millwall at the Den and in an otherwise pretty unmemorable game Harvey Elliot became the Cottagers youngest ever player at 15 years and 174 days.

Slavisa Jokanovic threw him on with five minutes left and the moody, top-knotted winger went from a GCSE exam in the afternoon to Carabao Cup action in the evening.

Scenes.

It might not have the glamour of the Champions League, or the pedigree of the Premier League but we can all agree that watching young British prospects impressing in first team performances is reason enough to continue the Carabao Cup.


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