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Page last updated at 07:30 GMT, Friday, 2 July 2010 08:30 UK

Crewe manager Dario Gradi urges youngsters to push on

Crewe Alexandra manager Dario Gradi
Gradi has helped to develop several international players at Crewe

Crewe manager Dario Gradi expects his latest crop of young talent to prove they are ready for first team football.

Gradi wants the likes of 22-year-old Shaun Miller, Byron Moore (21), Luke Murphy (20) and teenager Matt Tootle to form a vital part of his squad.

Gradi told BBC Radio Stoke: "Pre-season will be important because I'm starting with a clean sheet.

"They've all got talent, but if we're going to improve as a team, individuals need to improve."

As he prepares for a second consecutive season in League Two, the 69-year-old Gradi wants to see the youngsters follow the example of midfielder Ashley Westwood, who propelled himself into the first-team squad last season and ended up winning the player of the year award after producing a series of consistent performances. .

"Westy's probably favourite to be the next one to hit the headlines," added Gradi. "He's worked extremely hard and I'm expecting he'll improve - but I'm hoping that they will all improve.

"I've been waiting for Miller to become the next Nicky Maynard for a few years. There were signs last year that he was combining with others better.

"He could argue that I haven't given him a long enough run, but I've got six strikers to choose from and I can't give them all long runs.

"There's Murphy, who we thought was going to be a high-flier, and he's done fine but he hasn't really yet established himself as a player to go and play higher."

Gradi has added the experience of goalkeeper Steve Phillips, defender David Artell and midfielder Lee Bell to his squad since the end of the season, as well as teenager Antoni Sarcevic from non-league Woodley Sports.

Meanwhile, Gradi will give a talk to coaches currently taking the Pro Licence course at the weekend, which will feature a DVD of his Under-12's team to demonstrate that there is promising talent coming through at youth level.

"They are, quite clearly, very talented players," he said. "There's several of those players in that DVD that could play for England one day.

"They could play in my first team now if they were big enough and strong enough."



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