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U23 boss Collins hails Lembikisa after inclusion in FA Cup matchday squad

Wolves academy prospect Dexter Lembikisa was on the substitutes bench for the first time in the 3-0 FA Cup third round win over Sheffield United on Sunday.

Under-23s boss James Collins told the club website what a boost that is for all the young players coming through at the club.

He also said it represents a lesson for the coaches to give patience to players who may develop a little slower than others but can still make it.

“Dexter’s a player who has been here a while now and has progressed at maybe a different rate to some of the other players here. It’s been brilliant for him and a nice reward for all his hard work over the last few years,” he said.

“It’s also a nice reward for all the Academy coaches to see that a young player has displayed enough to get a place on the bench for the first-team. He’s progressed really well and shows the other boys in the Academy that you don’t always have to be at the top of the group at 13, 14 or 15 to be at the top of the group at the end of youth football.

“People progress at different speeds and at different times for their development, and Dexter’s had a really rapid progression over the last 12 months and has shown rapid improvement in his development. He’s got a good character and that always helps you to progress well.

“Being on the bench last weekend is good for the younger players in the Academy to see and it’s good for the coaches to see that you don’t give up on certain boys because they’re not flying as high at certain times in their journeys. That’s a really good lesson for us all.”

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The teenager signed his first pro contract in November and earned praise from Scott Sellars around that time for his development.

Bruno Lage has taken a close look at Wolves’ young players and seems more receptive to helping them with their development than Nuno Espirito Santo was.

Lembikisa still has plenty of hard work ahead of him to continue to impress in the Under-23s and then maybe get more chances in the matchday squad for the first team.

But it was an exciting first step and one which will no doubt make him and his family proud.