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Football: Young defenders make strong case; COCA-COLA LEAGUE TWO.

I Dean Keates claims the performances of the three young defenders that kept a clean sheet at Darlington last Saturday could have given Richard Money a selection headache.

The Walsall back four, three of whom were under 20-years-old, kept their opponents scoreless for just the second time in nine games at the weekend and could have played their way into the manager's first team on a more regular basis.

With regulars Ian Roper and Chris Westwood missing against a team that has not lost in 12, Danny Fox, Anthony Gerrard and Scott Dann acquitted themselves admirably.

"All of our defenders were young lads but every one of them proved that they were up to the task," Keates said yesterday.

"Darlington might have thought we would miss an experienced player back there but they did a great job.

"They might be young in age but they showed a lot of maturity. It has given the gaffer something to think about."

Westwood (pictured) could be back in time for this Saturday's visit from Chester City and Keates believes the confidence of leaving the north east with a point will have a knock-on effect at the Bescot.

"It's a long way up to Darlington are they are on a good run, about 12 unbeaten," he said.

"They are not an easy team to play against up there but hopefully it was the start of a little run and we will go into the Chester game full of confidence.

Another Walsall youngster, Netan Sansara, has been called up to the England Under-18 squad.

The 17-year-old defender will link up with The Young Lions as they prepare for an International Friendly against their counterparts from Holland.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 7, 2007
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